Update: State officials say fatalities likely from catastrophic Camp Fire

California’s chief emergency official said Friday morning that the wildfires that rapidly engulfed the town of Paradise and are scorching their way toward the Pacific Ocean near Malibu have almost certainly claimed an unknown number of lives.

But Mark Ghilarducci, director of the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, said public safety personnel are so busy trying to fight the rapidly growing infernos and evacuating residents that they don’t yet know the extent of the loss of life and property.

“The destruction we’re seeing is really unbelievable and heartbreaking, and our hearts out to everybody affected and impacted by this,” Ghilarducci said in a news conference live-streamed on Facebook. “We know there are injuries and loss of life… But we can’t put a number on it yet.”

Ghilarducci did say he was not aware of any fatalities involving public safety personnel fighting the fires.

There are six wildfires burning simultaneously up and down the state that has seen no rainfall nearly a month into the start of its rainy season.

Among them, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection reported Friday morning that the Brushy Fire in Mendocino County east of Highway 101 has reached 35 acres and is 50 percent contained. The Rincon Fire off Highway 9 north of Santa Cruz has held at 17 acres and is 90 percent contained.

But it is the massive Camp Fire that burned the town of Paradise east of Chico as well as the Hill and Woolsey fires in southern California that state officials called “critical” and are now the greatest concern.

As of Friday morning, the Camp Fire had burned 70,000 acres, nearly quadrupling in size overnight, and was only 5 percent contained. The fire scorched 110 square miles, six times the size of Paradise, a town of 26,000 that sits 12 miles east of Chico and …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Politics


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