The Slatest

Cataclysmic Wildfires Burning Through California Leave Behind Staggering Scenes of Devastation

Burned vehicles on the side of a road ravaged by wildfire.
Abandoned vehicles sit on the side of a road, destroyed by flames, in Paradise, California, on Nov. 9.
Josh Edelson/Getty Images

California continues to battle three major fires at both ends of the state—north and south—that have burned through tens of thousands of acres, destroyed thousands of homes and structures, and killed nine people so far, creating apocalyptic scenes on the outskirts of Los Angeles as the blazes continued to smolder into the weekend. The northern blaze, called Camp Fire, located north of Sacramento, is set to be the most destructive fire in the state’s modern history, having destroyed 90,000 acres and 6,700 buildings so far. In Southern California, two significant fires are gripping the western flank of Los Angeles, forcing tens of thousands of residents to evacuate their homes. In the Thousand Oaks community, which is in the midst of dealing with a mass shooting at a country music bar earlier this week, the fires added to the misery, prompting three-quarters of the city to evacuate.

Right on cue, President Donald Trump on Saturday morning from Paris tweeted out a callous, unnecessary, and unfounded rebuke of the state of California grappling with a crisis. “There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor,” Trump tweeted. “Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!”

Authorities don’t yet know the cause of the fires. California’s governor-elect, Gavin Newsom, declared a state of emergency Friday in Los Angeles and Ventura counties. The northern California fire is only 5 percent controlled, according to authorities, while no part of the southern fires was under control, the Ventura County Fire Department said. Firefighters and first responders are struggling to contain the fires and provide assistance to residents trapped by the flames.

The scenes of devastation are staggering:

A firefighter uses a hose in the midst of a blaze.
A Cal Fire firefighter monitors a burning home as the Camp Fire moves through the Magalia, California, area on Nov. 9.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Hospital workers and first responders evacuating patients in a parking lot, with smoke in the background.
Hospital workers and first responders evacuate patients from the Feather River Hospital as the Camp Fire moves through Paradise, California, on Nov. 8.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
A patrol vehicle on an empty road engulfed in a smoky haze.
A California Highway Patrol vehicle at a checkpoint along Highway 32 as the Camp Fire burns in Chico, California, on Nov. 9.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Burned vehicles in a parking lot engulfed in a smoky haze.
Abandoned vehicles sit at a car lot in Paradise, north of Sacramento, California, on Nov. 9.
Josh Edelson/Getty Images
Firefighters battle flames at an apartment complex.
Firefighters battle flames at the Shadowbrook apartment complex in Paradise, California, on Nov. 9.
Josh Edelson/Getty Images
A home on fire.
A home burns as the Camp Fire moves through Paradise, California, on Nov. 8.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Cars stuck in traffic, with smoke overhead.
Traffic backs up on Highway 70 as people evacuate from Paradise, California, on Nov. 8.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
A firefighter stands on a highway as the fire burns by the roadside.
The Camp Fire moves through Paradise, California, on Nov. 8.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Palm trees on fire.
The Woolsey Fire burns in Malibu, California, on Nov. 9. The fire destroyed dozens of structures, forced thousands of evacuations, and closed a major freeway.
Reuters/Eric Thayer
A firefighter walks through a parking lot as the fire burns nearby.
A firefighter walks through an apartment complex as the Woolsey Fire burns in Malibu, California, on Nov. 9.
Reuters/Eric Thayer