Camp Fire Latest: 23 Dead; No Imminent Threat To Oroville
- May 7, 2020
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BUTTE COUNTY, CA — The Camp Fire burning in Butte County has scorched 105,000 acres and left at least 23 people dead. As of Saturday, the fire was 20 percent contained and CalFire officials say that there is no imminent threat to the city of Oroville but another day or two of strong winds could create explosive fire behavior.
In a Saturday morning update, CalFire had said strong northeast winds expected later on Saturday evening could drive the fire across Lake Oroville, threatening the city of Oroville. Officials said residents in the evacuation areas and the surrounding areas should remain vigilant and monitor for any changes in evacuations.
A red flag warning goes into effect at 10 p.m. on Saturday and expires at 7 a.m. on Monday. Weather officials said strong northeast winds with gusts up to 50 miles per hour are expected in higher elevation areas while lower elevation areas can expect wind gusts of up to 30 miles per hour. The strong winds combined with dry conditions will create critical conditions for firefighters.
Officials also said that communities of Paradise Pines and Stirling City are still threatened by the fire. In a press conference Saturday evening, sheriff’s officials said 14 additional bodies were located on Saturday, bringing the death toll from the fire to 23. Of the 14 bodies found Saturday, four were found in Concow and the remaining 10 were located in Paradise.
On Friday night, the Butte County Sheriff’s Office said that four additional people had been killed in the fire, bringing the death toll to nine. All nine victims who died were found in the town of Paradise. The five victims found Thursday were inside cars that became overcome by the wildfire, according to the sheriff’s office. Three of the victims found Friday were outside of residences and a fourth person was found inside a home, the sheriff’s office said.
Sheriff’s officials have received 508 calls for citizens unable to reach family and friends and only 110 of those calls remain pending. Officials say any groups that have set up shelters to contact the Butte County EOC at 530-538-6613 so authorities can cross reference reports of missing persons.
The town, situated on a ridge between two valleys, was a popular retirement community, raising concerns about elderly and immobile residents who have been reported missing.
In the town’s central shopping area, there was little left but rubble.
St. Nicolas Church still stands, a rare exception. The nearby New Life church is gone. An unblemished Burger King sign rises above a pile of charred rubble. Only blackened debris remains behind the Happy Garden Chinese Restaurant sign touting its sushi. Seven burned out Mercedes chassis are all that’s left of Ernst Mercedes Specialist lot. City Hall survived. But the Moose Lodge and Chamber of Commerce buildings didn’t.
The town’s 100-bed hospital is still standing, but two of its smaller buildings, including an outpatient clinic, are flattened. The Adventist Feather River Hospital evacuated its 60 patients, but some were forced back by clogged roads. All of them eventually made it out.
The fire has destroyed nearly 6,450 single residences and 260 commercial structures. Fire officials say that another 15,000 structures are threatened by the fire. At least 52,000 people have been evacuated.
The deadly blaze broke out around 6:30 a.m. Thursday off Camp Creek and Pulga roads near Highway 70 in the Feather River Canyon, near the town of Paradise and not far from the city of Chico, according to Cal Fire. Thousands of firefighters from across the region helped attack the flames from the ground and by air. A total of 3,223 firefighters battled the blaze Friday, including 440 engines, 67 hand crews, 67 dozers, 23 helicopters and 18 water tenders, according to Cal Fire. Three firefighters have suffered injuries.
Officials estimated the fire to be fully contained by Nov. 30. The cause remains under investigation.
See a list of evacuation orders, closures and shelters below:
Evacuation Orders and Warnings
(Established for Paradise, Magalia, Concow, Butte Creek Canyon and Butte Valley)
Evacuation shelters have been opened at the following locations:
Small animals can be taken to Old Oroville Hospital, located at 2279 Del Oro Road, Suite E, in Oroville, or to the Chico Municipal Airport at 150 Airpark Blvd. in Chico. Large animals can be taken to the Butte County Fairgrounds. Authorities advise that if you are unable to take large animals, they should be left open pastures with food. Animals should not be locked up in a barn.
Residents can contact North Valley Animal Disaster Group at 530-895-0000 to report lost pets.
To check on loved ones, the county says residents should check safeandwell.org and check with family and friends. Those still not able to locate loved ones and contact the Butte County Sheriff’s Office at 530-538-7322 to request a welfare check or to file a missing persons report.
Chicostart is offering office space to Paradise business affected by the Camp Fire. Space is limited but residents can contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-924-5070. Click here for more information.
Butte County offices and facilities in located in areas under evacuation order areas were closed Friday to the public, county officials said. The Neal Road Recycling and Waste Facility was closed. County offices outside evacuation areas remained open.
All Butte County public schools will be closed through Friday, Nov. 23, officials said.
Classes at Chico State are closed until Nov. 26.
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An emergency volunteer center was opened at Caring Choices, located at 1398 Ridgewood Drive in Chico. People interested in volunteering can go to the center or call 530-899-3873. Volunteer nurses are needed for local evacuees. Nurses can get registered as disaster workers at Caring Choices.
Supplies can be picked up at Hope Center in Oroville. The center is located at at 1950 Kitrick Ave., Suite A.
The Salvation Army planned to deploy multiple teams to provide meals at additional sites in Butte County for people affected by the Camp Fire. Personnel from Auburn, Roseville, Santa Rosa and Yuba City were en route to assist Butte College, Butte County Fairgrounds, Chico Elks Lodge and Glenn County Fairgrounds.
The Salvation Army served breakfast Friday morning at the Oroville Oroville Church of the Nazarene and the Neighborhood Church of Chico. On Thursday, more than 300 meals were provided at the Oroville Nazarene Church.
How To Help
A relief fund has been established to help schools impacted by the Camp Fire.
The Northern California Fire Relief Fund has been established to help community organizations serving evacuees and first responders.
Donations can be dropped off at Oroville Municipal Auditorium (1200 Myers Street, Oroville). Warm clothes, shoes, paper products (toilet paper, forks, spoons, paper plates, paper towels), and women’s undergarments are among the items needed.
Reporting from The Associated Press was used in this report. Kristina Houck and Sue Wood contributed to this report.
Photo: PARADISE, CA – NOVEMBER 09: A car destroyed by the Camp Fire sits on the lot at a used car dealership on November 9, 2018 in Paradise, California. Fueled by high winds and low humidity, the rapidly spreading Camp Fire ripped through the town of Paradise and has quickly charred 70,000 acres and has destroyed numerous homes and businesses in a matter of hours. The fire is currently at five percent containment. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images