SEVERE WX : Severe Thunderstorm Watch View Alerts
STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Heavy rains douse California's deadliest wildfire and pose new dangers

The deadliest blaze in California history is nearly contained after firefighters got a little help from the ...

Posted: Nov 25, 2018 10:47 AM
Updated: Nov 25, 2018 10:47 AM

The deadliest blaze in California history is nearly contained after firefighters got a little help from the rain. While more rain Friday could mean an end to the two-week fire, it also brings the risks of flooding and mudslides.

Northern California's Camp Fire, which has killed 84 people, was 95% contained as of Friday, according to Cal Fire, the state's forestry and fire protection agency.

Accidents, disasters and safety

California

California wildfires

Continents and regions

Firefighters and firefighting

Fires

Floods and flooding

Government organizations - US

Labor and employment

Landslides

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

National Weather Service

Natural disasters

North America

Severe weather

Southwestern United States

The Americas

United States

US Department of Commerce

US federal departments and agencies

Weather

Wildfires

Workers and professionals

Earth sciences

Meteorology

Science

An inch and a half of rain Wednesday all but extinguished the blaze, National Weather Service meteorologist Bill Rasch said.

The rainfall hit the "sweet spot," Rasch said. "We needed it to come in and rain, and rain not too heavy."

Water is the solution for the scorched region, extinguishing the flames and clearing smoke from the air. But it also could bring more problems: flooding, mudslides and the flow of debris.

"Rainfall that would normally be absorbed will run off extremely quickly after a wildfire, as burned soil can be as water-repellent as pavement," the National Weather Service said.

The weather agency has two meteorologists onsite monitoring conditions in the Camp Fire area. Rasch said they are paying close attention to the rate of rainfall, with 2 to 4 inches forecast to hit the upper end of the fire by Friday morning.

More obstacles to recovery

Floods, mudslides and debris flow can be an especially dangerous cocktail following the devastation of a wildfire.

"It makes the ground really unstable for firefighters," Sacramento fire Capt. Dave Lauchner told CNN affiliate KTXL on Thursday. "But we just keep our eyes open, make sure we're in safe areas and watch out for each other."

Butte County Sheriff and Coroner Kory Honea told the TV station that his department would continue searching for the missing as long as conditions were not too dangerous.

Almost 1 million people in Northern California are under a flash flood watch that remains in effect through Friday morning, CNN meteorologist Haley Brink said.

"If you can look uphill from where you are and see a burnt-out area, you are at risk," the National Weather Service said.

And the risk of damage is both great and far-reaching. The running debris and floodwater can be powerful enough to destroy culverts, roadways and buildings, the weather service said, even reaching miles away from affected areas.

Rains bring new urgency to flee

About 10 minutes from Paradise, a town devastated by the Camp Fire, evacuees with nowhere else to go have set up a temporary encampment in a Walmart parking lot in Chico.

The camp became a community where volunteers distributed essential supplies.

"Walmart was one of the generous community partners that offered a site for respite and relief. Courageous and compassionate community volunteers came together and built an immediate safe place for many evacuees," the city of Chico said in a statement.

But as the weather turns, Walmart is encouraging the evacuees to find safer shelter.

"The weather forecast from the National Weather Service showing steady rain continuing through Friday has heightened our existing concerns and increased the urgency to find a more sustainable solution," company spokeswoman Delia Garcia said.

Walmart and the city offered free bus rides to other available shelters as well as gas gift cards, money and food.

Litigation over the fires

In Southern California, where rain is also expected, the Woolsey Fire reached 100% containment on Wednesday.

The fire killed three people and burned nearly 100,000 acres -- big enough for the scar to be seen from space via NASA's Terra satellite.

Three plaintiffs in Ventura and Los Angeles counties have filed a lawsuit against Southern California Edison Co., a supplier of electricity, over the fire.

"Had Southern California Edison Company followed the standard of care in inspecting, maintaining and repairing its overhead lines, properly maintaining its electrical equipment, and trimming away vegetation from its wires as is required by law and industry standards, the catastrophic Woolsey Fire could have been avoided," Patrick McNicholas, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said in a statement.

The utility declined to comment on the lawsuit, saying Cal Fire and the Ventura County Fire Department are investigating the cause of the fire.

A similar lawsuit on behalf of 22 victims of the Camp Fire was filed last week, alleging the Pacific Gas & Electric Co. was responsible. The company reported an outage on the day the fire began.

In response, PG&E said the exact cause of the fire has not been determined.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 25208

Reported Deaths: 1060
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin8514616
Ramsey3075128
Stearns203013
Nobles15445
Anoka142970
Dakota134957
Washington64532
Olmsted63410
Kandiyohi4971
Rice4622
Scott4362
Clay42728
Mower3452
Wright3202
Todd3190
Sherburne2462
Carver2182
Benton1783
Steele1600
Blue Earth1420
Martin1325
Freeborn1250
St. Louis11814
Pine890
Unassigned8810
Nicollet8810
Winona8015
Cottonwood760
Watonwan750
Carlton750
Crow Wing712
Otter Tail700
Goodhue683
Chisago621
Polk612
Lyon570
Itasca5510
Dodge530
Chippewa511
Morrison470
Meeker450
Douglas440
Le Sueur441
Becker400
Murray390
Jackson390
McLeod370
Isanti350
Waseca260
Rock220
Swift190
Mille Lacs191
Pennington190
Faribault190
Wabasha180
Fillmore171
Sibley160
Brown162
Beltrami150
Cass142
Norman130
Marshall120
Pipestone120
Kanabec111
Wilkin113
Wadena100
Koochiching90
Pope90
Aitkin80
Mahnomen61
Yellow Medicine60
Big Stone60
Lincoln50
Redwood50
Renville50
Red Lake40
Grant40
Lac qui Parle30
Clearwater30
Traverse30
Houston20
Hubbard20
Roseau20
Lake10
Kittson10
Stevens10

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 19669

Reported Deaths: 555
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk4236133
Woodbury276136
Black Hawk174745
Linn95379
Dallas91623
Marshall89616
Buena Vista8100
Johnson6149
Wapello59712
Muscatine55741
Crawford5282
Tama40327
Scott36110
Dubuque34619
Louisa34511
Sioux2830
Pottawattamie2698
Jasper26017
Washington1898
Wright1780
Warren1350
Plymouth1332
Allamakee1204
Story1161
Mahaska9510
Poweshiek908
Henry711
Bremer696
Des Moines651
Boone650
Clinton641
Taylor560
Clarke560
Guthrie513
Cedar481
Benton431
Hamilton430
Webster421
Monroe385
Shelby370
Jones360
Clayton343
Osceola340
Buchanan330
Iowa330
Marion320
Cherokee310
Jefferson300
Cerro Gordo291
Madison292
Lee270
Fayette270
Monona250
Winneshiek240
Lyon240
Davis230
Harrison230
Dickinson210
Sac200
Grundy200
Mills190
Floyd191
Humboldt181
Clay170
Delaware171
Hardin170
Butler171
Lucas170
Emmet160
Hancock160
Appanoose143
Ida140
Page140
Franklin140
Keokuk140
Pocahontas130
Greene130
Howard120
Cass120
Audubon121
Jackson120
Carroll110
Winnebago110
Chickasaw100
Kossuth100
Adair90
Van Buren90
Union90
Montgomery80
Adams70
Palo Alto70
Fremont40
Ringgold40
Mitchell40
Worth30
Calhoun20
Wayne10
Decatur10
Unassigned10
Rochester
Clear
92° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 95°
Mason City
Clear
94° wxIcon
Hi: 94° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 95°
Albert Lea
Clear
95° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 96°
Austin
Clear
97° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 103°
Charles City
Clear
93° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 95°
Powerful storms and summer-like conditions are coming our way
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

VFW Waits To Reopen Inside

Image

Blackout Tuesday

Image

Sara's Midday Forecast - Tuesday

Image

Pool sales on the rise while pools remain closed

Image

Sara's Daybreak Forecast - Tuesday

Image

Rochester man bringing donations to the Twin Cities.

${item.thumbnail.title}

StormTeam 3: Today's Severe Weather Update

Image

Yoga studio closes space, tries new idea

Image

Forager Brewery welcomes new business

Image

Salons reopen at 25% capacity

Community Events