SEVERE WX : Special Weather Statement View Alerts

High winds threaten firefighters progress in CA

Powerful winds are expected to sweep through California, exacerbating three major fires that have ravaged both ends of the state for several days. At least 25 people have died in two of the fires. CNN's Scott McLean reports

Posted: Nov 12, 2018 4:31 PM
Updated: Nov 12, 2018 4:31 PM

The most destructive wildfire in California history is nowhere near done with its catastrophic rampage.

Northern California's Camp Fire has already torched thousands of homes and killed 29 people. If the death toll gets any worse, it will be the deadliest wildfire in California history.

Firefighters who lost their homes must set aside their grief and work marathon hours to save other residents' lives and houses.

But the Camp Fire isn't the only inferno ravaging California. Farther south, fierce winds are expected to fuel two major wildfires west of Los Angeles.

"In fact, the strongest Santa Ana winds for the south may come on Tuesday, with gusts to near hurricane force," CNN meteorologist Dave Hennen said.

'I'm not giving up hope'

The Camp Fire virtually obliterated the town of Paradise, home to more than 26,000 people.

And with countless homes charred, 10 coroner search-and-recovery teams are helping search for victims' remains, Butte County Sheriff and Coroner Kory Honea said.

But Sol Bechtold is still holding out hope for his mother Joanne Caddy, who's been missing from Paradise for days.

"We learned her house was destroyed the other day, so don't know what's happened to her," Bechtold told CNN affiliate KRON. "She's kind of homebound. She doesn't have a car. I need to find my mom -- I'm not giving up hope she's out there."

More than 30 Butte County sheriff's deputies reported for duty despite losing their homes, CNN affiliate KTXL reported.

Colusa Police Sgt. Jarrod Hughes told KTXL that his Paradise home had been destroyed in the blaze, but that he had donned his uniform and returned to work once he got his son to safety.

"It's my community, it's where I grew up. It's something I absolutely had to do," Hughes said. "There was no question about it. It was get my family to safety so I can get in and get back up there and help everybody else."

Catastrophic numbers

Camp Fire: The largest of the three major blazes, the Camp Fire has scorched 111,000 acres across Northern California and is about 25% contained, according to the state firefighting agency Cal Fire. It has destroyed an estimated 6,700 buildings, most of which were homes.

Woolsey and Hill fires: In Southern California, the Woolsey Fire had spread to 85,500 acres and is about 15% contained. The nearby Hill Fire covered 4,531 acres and was 75% contained. Together, the fires are responsible for the destruction of 179 structures, but another 57,000 are threatened, fire officials said.

Mass evacuations: More than 300,000 people have been forced from their homes statewide. The majority of those residents are in Los Angeles County, where 170,000 were evacuated.

Winds, climate change provoking fires

Among those to evacuate were some celebrities whose homes have been lost to the fires.

The homes of Miley Cyrus, Neil Young, Robin Thicke and Gerard Butler are among those scorched in the Woolsey blaze. Butler posted a photo on Twitter of the charred remains of a Malibu home and thanked firefighters for their courage.

Thicke posted a statement on Instagram thanking firefighters and volunteers who "risked their lives trying to save our home."

Young, in a post on his official website decrying the impact of climate change, said "I have lost my home before to a California wildfire, now another."

California Gov. Jerry Brown also lamented the role of climate change in driving the fires.

"This is not the new normal, this is the new abnormal," Brown said. "The chickens are coming home to roost, this is real here."

Resources, including dozens of fire trucks and thousands of firefighters, are pouring in from out of state.

Though the state's drought has eased slightly, it's still abnormally dry, according to CNN meteorologist Taylor Ward. That leaves a lot of dry vegetation to feed the fires.

Crews searching for the dead

Crews are combing through blackened ruins of homes in the areas scorched by the flames.

So far, 29 bodies have been recovered in or near Paradise, which was virtually wiped off the map by the Camp Fire. Many bodies recovered from that fire were found inside or near homes or in vehicles, officials said.

In Southern California, officials said two deaths in Malibu were related to the Woolsey Fire, bringing the statewide death toll to 31.

The painstaking process of finding the missing and identifying the dead is challenging, with some of the bodies burned beyond recognition.

"In some cases, the only remains we are able to recover are bones or bone fragments," said Honea, the Butte County sheriff. "I know that members of the community who are missing loved ones are anxious, and I know that the news of us recovering bodies has to be disconcerting."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 560450

Reported Deaths: 7122
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1167211690
Ramsey48313858
Dakota42928423
Anoka38965419
Washington25195274
Stearns21198219
St. Louis16926298
Scott16187118
Wright14964128
Olmsted1282897
Sherburne1072580
Carver993045
Clay787390
Rice7701102
Blue Earth704240
Kandiyohi631381
Crow Wing624286
Chisago554750
Otter Tail547673
Benton536697
Mower453032
Goodhue448572
Douglas446071
Winona439549
Nobles401948
Morrison397559
McLeod397255
Isanti382559
Itasca379053
Beltrami375457
Polk367967
Steele366214
Becker359448
Lyon349748
Carlton331152
Freeborn329629
Pine313821
Nicollet310343
Brown295639
Mille Lacs285450
Le Sueur273822
Todd270030
Cass252526
Meeker239137
Waseca231921
Martin215230
Wabasha20003
Roseau198319
Hubbard174441
Renville172943
Dodge17253
Redwood166735
Houston162714
Cottonwood158221
Fillmore15229
Pennington151519
Chippewa147537
Wadena145821
Faribault145519
Sibley137110
Kanabec133622
Aitkin129436
Watonwan12609
Rock123419
Jackson118210
Yellow Medicine111319
Pipestone110526
Pope10386
Murray10319
Swift100418
Marshall85817
Stevens83310
Lake78819
Clearwater78514
Koochiching77813
Wilkin77312
Lac qui Parle73922
Big Stone5764
Lincoln5613
Grant5528
Norman5229
Mahnomen5178
Unassigned48678
Kittson46822
Red Lake3877
Traverse3625
Lake of the Woods3073
Cook1480

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 359450

Reported Deaths: 5839
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk56274608
Linn20392330
Scott19245236
Black Hawk15611306
Woodbury14960221
Johnson1415481
Dubuque13196203
Dallas1094596
Pottawattamie10804162
Story1035747
Warren559186
Clinton541791
Cerro Gordo524987
Webster508792
Sioux507873
Marshall477575
Muscatine463297
Des Moines443165
Wapello4255121
Buena Vista422140
Jasper408470
Plymouth398779
Lee369255
Marion355775
Jones293455
Henry286837
Carroll280152
Bremer279860
Crawford262840
Boone259633
Benton251155
Washington249850
Dickinson243743
Mahaska225750
Jackson218942
Kossuth213763
Clay212325
Tama206971
Delaware204539
Winneshiek194933
Page190721
Buchanan189031
Cedar185023
Fayette183541
Hardin181942
Wright180635
Hamilton178449
Harrison176673
Clayton167355
Butler162734
Mills159020
Cherokee157738
Floyd156242
Lyon155341
Madison154819
Poweshiek153233
Allamakee149351
Iowa146224
Hancock144234
Winnebago136931
Grundy135532
Cass135154
Calhoun133411
Jefferson131235
Emmet129940
Shelby129037
Sac128419
Louisa127349
Appanoose126747
Mitchell125441
Union123332
Chickasaw122715
Guthrie118529
Humboldt118426
Franklin113121
Palo Alto111323
Howard102922
Montgomery101537
Unassigned10040
Clarke98524
Keokuk95031
Monroe94528
Ida90133
Adair84832
Pocahontas84121
Monona81430
Davis79924
Osceola77116
Greene76710
Lucas75723
Worth7138
Taylor65412
Fremont6169
Decatur5919
Van Buren55518
Ringgold53624
Wayne52123
Audubon4969
Adams3314
Rochester/St. Mary'S
Partly Cloudy
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Hi: 63° Lo: 32°
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Mason City
Clear
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Austin
Partly Cloudy
61° wxIcon
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