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Northern California fire death toll rises to 48

The Camp Fire has claimed 48 lives and 8,800 structures in Northern California, officials said Tuesday....

Posted: Nov 14, 2018 9:50 AM
Updated: Nov 14, 2018 9:50 AM

The Camp Fire has claimed 48 lives and 8,800 structures in Northern California, officials said Tuesday.

The blaze, the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in the state's history, kept growing Tuesday, though firefighters got some reprieve as winds died down.

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Still, though swirling winds and limited visibility at times remained challenging, Cal Fire operations section chief Joshua Bischof said the day was a successful one.

Winds Tuesday weren't as brisk, something forecasters said should be the case for the next few days. There is no rain in the forecast, though, until possibly Thanksgiving.

Butte County Sheriff and Coroner Kory L. Honea told reporters that six people have been arrested for looting and other crimes.

Residents are wondering when they can go back to check on the damage.

"We don't specifically have a time frame," said Cal Fire incident commander Todd Durham. "I suspect in the next few days to come."

He said teams are coming into the affected areas to help with repopulation.

50 deaths total

In Southern California, the Woolsey Fire has claimed two lives and charred more than 150 square miles -- an area larger than the size of Denver.

The fire has destroyed 435 structures, and crews are still battling flames amid red flag warnings.

The National Weather Service office in Los Angeles said there were wind gusts Tuesday of up to 33 mph in the fire areas.

There was also some relief in areas where people had evacuated from the Woolsey Fire. About 11 areas were reopened to residents.

Families return to virtually nothing

While the Camp Fire is still getting larger, some residents returned to what's left of their gutted homes.

Justin Bartek lost his childhood home in Paradise, where his father still lived. His sister's house was burned down as well.

Bartek said he's especially concerned about his father, who's retired.

"His world is pretty much flipped upside down," Bartek said Tuesday. "My mother's ashes were left in the home. That's tough to deal with as well."

Paradise resident Nichole Jolly said she thought her life was over when flames surrounded her car, filling it with smoke. Then, she called her husband, who urged her to run, she said.

"If you're going to die, die fighting," she said, tearfully recalling his words.

Outside the vehicle, ash and hot embers stung her eyes and obscured her vision, she said. She felt around until she reached a fire engine that was hot to the touch. Firefighters pulled her inside, but they, too, were trapped, she said -- until a bulldozer came through and cleared a path to safety.

The staggering numbers behind the blazes

• Camp Fire: More than 15,500 structures are still threatened by the Camp Fire, which has scorched 130,000 acres of Northern California. That's bigger than the size of Atlanta. As of Tuesday evening, the inferno was 35% contained.

• Woolsey Fire: A whopping 57,000 structures are still threatened by the Woolsey Fire in Southern California. As of Tuesday morning, the inferno was 40% contained. The blaze has torched 97,114 acres.

• Hill Fire: Another Southern California blaze, the Hill Fire, has burned 4,531 acres and was 90% contained as of Tuesday morning.

• 500 fires in one month: California firefighters have battled more than 500 blazes in the past 30 days, said Cal Fire, the state's forestry and fire protection agency. In just the past week, more than 225,000 acres burned. That's larger than the cities of Chicago and Boston combined.

Power companies report problems before the wildfires

While the causes of the Camp and Woolsey fires have not been determined, state regulators are investigating two utility companies that reported incidents shortly before the two fires started.

Almost 15 minutes before the Camp Fire began near Pulga, PG&E said it experienced a transmission line outage about 1 mile northeast of the town.

In Ventura County, where the Woolsey Fire began, SoCal Edison reported that a circuit relayed about two minutes before the fire started Thursday afternoon. It happened "near E Street/Alfa Road" -- the same intersection where Cal Fire said the Woolsey Fire began.

But SoCal Edison said "at this point we have no indication from fire agency personnel that SCE utility facilities may have been involved in the start of the fire."

Both power companies say they are cooperating with state investigators.

'It is not a safe environment whatsoever'

So far, 42 bodies have been recovered from homes and vehicles in or near Paradise.

The Butte County Sheriff's Office identified three of the victims as Ernest Foss, 65, from Paradise; Jesus Fernandez, 48, from Concow; and Carl Wiley, 77, from Magalia.

Officials fear more remains will be found.

Honea said his office is bringing in more resources to expedite the grim tasks of processing and identifying human remains. They include 13 coroner search recovery teams, 150 search and rescue personnel, cadaver dogs, two portable temporary morgue units, and a rapid DNA system.

The terrible air quality from the Camp Fire has spread across Northern California, forcing the University of California at Davis to cancel classes in both Davis and Sacramento, UC Davis tweeted.

California Highway Patrol Chief Brent Newman asked for the public's patience as teams clear affected areas. As part of those efforts, CHP teams removed 60 abandoned cars and set up barriers around dangerous areas. He urged people trying to cross them so they can reach their homes to be patient.

"It is not a safe environment whatsoever," he said.

Hundreds of thousands are displaced

More than 300,000 people have been forced from their homes statewide. Most of those residents live in Los Angeles County, where 170,000 were evacuated.

The evacuees included celebrities who lost their homes in Malibu as well as first responders who are still working despite losing their own homes.

More than 8,000 firefighters are battling wildfires across California, including many from out of state.

Cal Fire tweeted a map showing all the states where firefighters are coming from -- including Alaska, Indiana and Georgia.

"Cal Fire wants to recognize the many out of state partners that have joined in battling these wildfires," the agency said.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 610839

Reported Deaths: 7749
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1266401800
Ramsey53172911
Dakota47328475
Anoka43323465
Washington27717296
Stearns22703227
St. Louis18297319
Scott17719139
Wright16561153
Olmsted13549103
Sherburne1215696
Carver1075749
Clay829692
Rice8261111
Blue Earth771944
Crow Wing689599
Kandiyohi670885
Chisago627654
Otter Tail591187
Benton586698
Goodhue486174
Douglas479281
Mower478233
Winona464652
Itasca463168
Isanti446667
McLeod435161
Morrison428462
Beltrami410763
Nobles410150
Steele401419
Polk390772
Becker389457
Lyon365554
Carlton356958
Freeborn352134
Pine337823
Nicollet334545
Mille Lacs315456
Brown308840
Le Sueur300127
Cass288633
Todd288633
Meeker266244
Waseca241023
Martin237233
Roseau212421
Wabasha20843
Hubbard198341
Dodge19023
Renville183946
Redwood178541
Houston175916
Cottonwood168224
Wadena165223
Fillmore159710
Faribault157220
Chippewa154138
Pennington153920
Kanabec148028
Sibley147410
Aitkin139437
Watonwan13629
Rock129219
Jackson123112
Pipestone117226
Yellow Medicine115420
Pope11406
Swift107618
Murray107410
Koochiching96819
Stevens92611
Clearwater89317
Marshall88917
Lake84520
Wilkin84013
Lac qui Parle76122
Big Stone6094
Grant5958
Lincoln5863
Mahnomen5669
Norman5509
Kittson49122
Unassigned48793
Red Lake4037
Traverse3835
Lake of the Woods3484
Cook1740

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 374664

Reported Deaths: 6109
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk58891646
Linn21448342
Scott20426250
Black Hawk16680319
Woodbury15319230
Johnson1473686
Dubuque13595213
Dallas1144099
Pottawattamie11307177
Story1082848
Warren592092
Clinton564393
Cerro Gordo562297
Webster538996
Sioux519174
Muscatine4920106
Marshall491479
Des Moines478275
Jasper452073
Wapello4366123
Buena Vista431040
Plymouth404982
Lee392658
Marion369177
Jones301257
Henry301037
Bremer292763
Carroll286252
Boone271234
Crawford270841
Benton262755
Washington259851
Dickinson250745
Mahaska232551
Jackson225842
Kossuth219166
Clay217327
Tama213372
Delaware211743
Winneshiek200636
Buchanan196734
Page195422
Cedar192923
Hardin191144
Wright189140
Fayette188243
Hamilton186851
Harrison181973
Clayton173057
Butler167835
Madison167719
Floyd164642
Mills163824
Cherokee161538
Lyon160941
Poweshiek159036
Allamakee155552
Hancock153134
Iowa148324
Winnebago145731
Calhoun143113
Cass140855
Grundy139333
Emmet136741
Jefferson134535
Sac132620
Shelby131838
Louisa130249
Union129535
Appanoose128049
Franklin127823
Mitchell127243
Chickasaw125717
Guthrie124532
Humboldt124526
Palo Alto114924
Montgomery106738
Howard105322
Clarke102424
Monroe100633
Keokuk99932
Ida92735
Adair89632
Davis86825
Pocahontas86822
Monona85931
Greene79111
Osceola79017
Lucas77423
Worth7568
Taylor67112
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Fremont64810
Ringgold56824
Van Buren56718
Wayne56323
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