Translate

Monday, November 12

"California fire disaster may worsen as strong winds howl for multiple days" Accuweather this morning

By Renee Duff, AccuWeather meteorologist
November 12, 2018, 9:12:58 AM EST
AccuWeather

A dangerous situation is unfolding across Southern California as a multi-day Santa Ana wind event threatens to worsen the already deadly and destructive firestorm early this week.

A pattern similar to what led to the rapid spread of the Camp and Woolsey fires late last week has returned.

"Santa Ana winds ramped back up on Sunday and bouts of moderately strong wind gusts are anticipated through at least Tuesday," according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Alyson Hoegg.

"Winds can gust 50-60 mph in wind-prone passes and canyons and 60-70 mph in the mountains," she said. In Southern California, "the strongest winds are anticipated Monday night through Tuesday morning."

While not as strong as early this week, there can be another round of locally gusty Santa Ana winds Tuesday night into Wednesday morning.

Farther north, gusts of 30-40 mph can persist around the Camp Fire into Monday evening before firefighters welcome calmer conditions for the rest of the week.

The combination of the strong winds, very little moisture in the air and extremely dry ground from months of drought will create a volatile environment for wildfires to ignite and rapidly expand.
[...]

*********

Paradise residents observed Veterans Day on Sunday: A Tale of the Paradise Fire

On November 8 the Camp wildfire wiped out in a few hours 90 percent of the homes in Paradise, a town of more than 26,000 people, and burned down about half of the rest of the town. So one would think all the residents, most of whom are in evacuation shelters, would forgo the Veterans Day observance just this one November 11. But nope:
Michael Zuccolillo, a town councilman, would not let the fire ruin a town tradition Sunday.
Paradise has been celebrating Veterans Day with the Paradise Parade of Flags since 1999. Typically about 1,100 flags line the Skyway road. But the flags were destroyed when the Elks Lodge burned down.
Zuccolillo went on social media asking for help to celebrate the holiday and about 30 flags were donated. He and others put the flags up Sunday morning along Skyway.
“I decided as a sign of unity and hope that we’d still do the parade of flags,” he said. “It’s a sign of showing some normalcy in a sea of chaos. And just to show the hope that we are going to rebuild.”
 Mr Zuccolillo's home was among those burned down as were the homes of all other town council members. But the town hall itself did survive the inferno.    

********

Try to imagine being that man's dog: A Tale of the Paradise Fire

Paradise resident Matt Armbruster refused to heed urgent evacuation warnings as the Camp wildfire closed in on the town on Thursday. Finally he realized he and his dog were a goner but by then it was too late to evacuate. In panic he ran and jumped in a creek with the dog in tow. There they stayed for almost two hours while fires raged around them, and with Mr Armbruster certain all the time they would die any minute.

Now here is the topper. 90 percent of the houses in Paradise burned down. Guess whose house was in the 10 percent.

So I'm trying to think it through from the dog's point of view. On the one paw my master is an idiot. On the other paw, he's very lucky.

[doing a little weighing motion with my paws] All things considered, at least I have a roof over my head, which is more than most other dogs in the neighborhood have now. Being a dog I'm not going to get philosophical about this so I don't have to wonder whether it's actually I whom lucky has favored.


Mr Armbruster, recounting his tale to a CBS reporter


********

Camp Fire update; 29 dead 228 missing as blaze continues to grow

"We are bracing for more fatalities."

"Tens of thousands remained evacuated Sunday night."

"The good news Sunday was that the fire had slowed its furious pace overnight amid some gusting winds.

"Containment increased from 25 percent overnight. The cities of Oroville and Chico were on alert over the weekend as the fire briefly made a run toward them, but both had escaped damage as of Sunday night.

"The National Weather Service maintained a “red flag” or fire-spread warning Sunday night through early Monday morning, due to expected wind gusts up to 40 miles per hour. The growth is dry because the area has not had rain for 210 days, the agency said. Winds, though, are expected to die down Monday about 7 a.m."

“The winds will give (firefighters) a break, but no rain in sight,” at least until Thanksgiving, meteorologist Johnnie Powell said.

Fire officials said the primary goal continues to be cutting fire lines around the 111,000-acre blaze."

"She estimated that 90 percent of [Paradise's] houses are gone, and that about half of downtown has been destroyed."

"Paradise Mayor Jody Jones said the fire first ignited houses dotted throughout the town when it was still two miles away, throwing embers far ahead of its advance."

"City officials had an evacuation plan and even had practiced it once during a morning commute, but the plan was based on evacuating residents in sequence, one section of town at a time, Jones said. With the fire hitting all parts of town, the entire community was forced to evacuate at once, and the roads were “overwhelmed.”


11/ 11 - 8:03 am PT Updated 5 hours 6 minutes ago
By RYAN SABALOW, KEVIN VALINE and TONY BIZJAK
The Tribune - San Luis Obispo 

The voracious Camp Fire that ran rampant through Butte County’s hilly towns last week has officially stamped itself as the most merciless in state history, and left forensics experts with a grisly chore in the weeks ahead — finding and identifying those who perished.

Officials reported Sunday night that the death toll has reached 29, making it the deadliest California fire in 85 years. The Camp Fire has also destroyed 6,700 buildings, making it the most destructive blaze in state history measured by loss of structures. Most of the damage and death occurred in the town of Paradise, just east of Chico, which was almost entirely consumed by flames on Thursday.

The death toll, which increased by six on Sunday, equals the death toll from the 1933 Griffith Fire in Los Angeles as the worst mass-casualty wildland fire ever in the state. The Oakland hills Tunnel Fire in 1991 caused 25 deaths.
The fire slowed some on Sunday, but officials said the risk of flaring remains high and winds are once again a threat overnight.

As 4,000-plus firefighters dug battle lines in the hills, hoping to quell the fire’s advance amid windy conditions, ten “mass casualty” search teams from around the state stepped up the grisly task of sifting through razed homes and peering into charred vehicles looking for victims’ remains.

All weekend, officials said they expected more bad news on the body count. “We are bracing for more fatalities,” Office of Emergency Services official Mark Pazin warned.

As of Sunday evening, 228 residents of the hills remain unaccounted for days after the fire first rained embers down on the towns of Paradise, Magalia and Concow, igniting home after home, forcing frantic evacuations on narrow mountain roads. The Butte County Sheriff’s Department has received more than 500 calls about missing persons, said Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea.

A number of those unaccounted for may be in shelters, Honea said.

Honea said search crews are concentrating first in areas that had extensive damage or where authorities have received reports of missing people. The search is complicated by debris, including rows of burned vehicles, left abandoned on roads.

He said in some areas the fire burned so hot that there may be no human remains left, or just pieces of bone. No victim identifications had been formally released as of Sunday evening. Investigators were bringing in DNA testing equipment to help with the task.

Some areas were still burning and unsafe for rescuers to enter Sunday, Honea said. His goal, he said, is to get answers as soon as possible to people who are missing loved ones.

“This is my community,” he said.

Tens of thousands remained evacuated Sunday night, including residents of Paradise, population 27,000, who jammed centers in Chico, Oroville and other areas, or stayed with relatives in the area.
Abandoned cars

Evacuees told tales of receiving warnings via text alerts and rushing to their cars only to find themselves immediately in stalled traffic as thousands tried to escape town on its two main roads. Officials turned both Skyway and Clark Road into one-way routes into the valley, but cars nonetheless backed up for miles.
CAMP FIRE IN BUTTE COUNTY
Red circles on this live-updating map are actively burning areas, as detected by satellite. Orange circles have burned in the past 12 to 24 hours, and yellow circles have burned within the past 48 hours. Yellow areas represent the fire perimeter.
[GRAPHIC - Live Updating Map]

Smoke-filled skies made it appear as though it were midnight. At times, escaping drivers ran a gauntlet of burning trees on both sides of the road.

“It was terrifying,” Paradise resident Kelly Angel said. “There were flames behind us. People were abandoning their cars and running. People were driving erratically because of the flames right behind us.”

She said it took her six hours to reach Skyway from her house, a drive that normally takes no more than eight minutes.

“I thought I was going to die,” Angel said. “I was on the phone with my dad and crying, telling him my car was going to burn up. It was terrifying.”

At Adventist Health Feather River Hospital, workers hurriedly shuttled patients into private vehicles to escape the oncoming flames. At one point, when it appeared the hospital might be consumed, doctors and nurses pushed hospital equipment out to an already scorched helicopter pad as a temporary triage center. The fire surrounded the area, but did not burn the main hospital.

The good news Sunday was that the fire had slowed its furious pace overnight, amid some gusting winds.

Containment increased from 25 percent overnight. The cities of Oroville and Chico were on alert over the weekend as the fire briefly made a run toward them, but both had escaped damage as of Sunday night.

The National Weather Service maintained a “red flag” or fire-spread warning Sunday night through early Monday morning, due to expected wind gusts up to 40 miles per hour. The growth is dry because the area has not had rain for 210 days, the agency said. Winds, though, are expected to die down Monday about 7 a.m.

“The winds will give (firefighters) a break, but no rain in sight,” at least until Thanksgiving, meteorologist Johnnie Powell said.

Fire officials said the primary goal continues to be cutting fire lines around the 111,000-acre blaze.

[...]

*****
That's enough of an update but lots, lots more in the report. The stories coming out of that fire situation are overwhelming. The reporters really did their job. 
********

Sunday, November 11

S. California Woolsey Wildfire Updates as of 9 pm ET

(I'm looking for updates on the Camp wildfire and will publish those in the next post.)

"Powerful Santa Ana winds are forecasted to kick up again later tonight"

"The fire was traveling so fast the California Highway Patrol couldn’t keep up with it."

“Our firefighters have been facing some extreme, tough fire conditions that they’ve said they’ve never seen in their lives.”


One of the conditions, sustained high winds with hurricane-force gusts, has repeatedly grounded water tanker planes used to douse flames over a wide area. And even when the planes can get airborne, the wind scatters the water into sprays that are pretty much useless for fighting big wildfires.

Woolsey Fire smoke plume over Malibu
Getty Images

Firefighters battle Santa Ana winds; 170,000 Los Angeles residents still under evacuation. 


The Woolsey Fire has scorched 83,275 acres and devoured more than 175 structures

By Jenna Chandler
Updated Nov 11, 2018, 5:50pm PST
Los Angeles Curbed

[LA Curbed will continue to update their reporting on the  Woolsey fire. See their website for additional articles and several photos, including the one I've posted above]

As firefighters race to control the Woolsey Fire, mandatory evacuation orders remain in effect for approximately 170,000 Los Angeles County residents, from Malibu to West Hills in the San Fernando Valley.

The Woolsey Fire is still burning in spots on both sides of the 101 freeway. It has torched hillsides and coastline across 83,275 acres of Los Angeles and Ventura counties, and destroyed more than 170 buildings in the beaches, canyons, and Valley. Containment stands at 10 percent.

On Sunday, firefighters extinguished flare-ups and kept a hold on the fire’s perimeter, stopping it from spreading south into communities like Pacific Palisades, said Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl Osby. He noted that there were no new reports of homes burning down.

“Today was a better day,” he said.

But, Osby cautioned: “We’re not out of the woods tonight.”

Powerful Santa Ana winds are forecasted to kick up again later tonight, posing a major threat. Wind gusts can easily fan embers and ignite dry brush.

None of the mandatory evacuation orders issued for the Woolsey Fire since Friday have been lifted in LA County, and approximately 57,000 structures in Ventura and Los Angeles counties are still at risk.

The evacuation orders affect multiple communities, including Topanga, where many residents have opted to shelter in place, as well as the entire city of Malibu, which City Councilmember Lou La Monte has said was “hit very, very hard.”

Authorities continue to urge Topanga residents who have remained in their homes to “leave immediately.”

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is also warning residents in evacuation zones to resist the urge to return home. Even in areas where flames are no longer active, there are downed power lines and trees, smoldering embers that could reignite, limited to no cell service, and dangerous air quality.

“We ask people: Do not go back to those areas,” says Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department chief John Benedict. “Quite frankly, it’s still not safe.”

(A full, up-to-date list of evacuation areas and evacuation centers is posted at the end of this story.)

The Woolsey Fire has has destroyed 177 structures since blowing south from Ventura County over the 101 freeway into Los Angeles early Friday morning, unleashing a barrage of flames on Malibu and neighboring communities. But assessment teams are still surveying the damage, and that number is expected to increase.

La Monte estimates the blaze has ruined “dozens and dozens of homes” in Malibu alone; it has wreaked havoc on Malibu West, Point Dume, Zuma Canyon, and Malibou Lake.

But the south side of Malibu, as well as Topanga and Pacific Palisades have not burned—and authorities are telling residents of those communities to be prepared to leave.

“We are trying to contain the fires north of those communities,” says Osby. But “if you see smoke coming your way, don’t wait for the evacuation [order] to leave.”

(Woolsey Fire map: See where the wildfire is burning in Ventura, Los Angeles)

The fast-moving Woolsey Fire broke out around 3 p.m. Thursday, near Simi Valley. Shortly before dawn Friday, powerful winds, gusting 40 to 50 mph, drove the flames south across the 101 freeway at Liberty Canyon Road and Chesebro Road in Agoura.

“The fire was burning like a torch or flame thrower across the freeway,” KTLA’s Eric Spillman reported. “There were people on the freeway doing U-turns and driving back the way they came from, in darkness with smoke all the way around them. It was just remarkable.”

“The fire was traveling so fast. The [California Highway Patrol] couldn’t keep up with it. We couldn’t keep up with it,” he said.

At 10 a.m. Friday, the city of Malibu issued a citywide mandatory evacuation order, then released a statement two hours later, saying the “fire is now burning out of control and heading into populated areas of Malibu.” Residents were told to evacuate immediately.

As the blaze ripped south toward the coastline, it created apocalyptic scenes.

Residents used the iconic Pacific Coast Highway to flee toward Santa Monica. Parking lots at Zuma Beach were turned into evacuation zones for llamas and other large animals; striking photos show horses on the sand, smoke billowing over the ocean behind them.

Officials with the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area reported around noon Friday that Western Town at Paramount Ranch, where Westworld was filmed, had burned (though the church is apparently still standing).

Approximately 3,500 students sheltered-in-place overnight at Pepperdine University, and remained there Sunday.

Shortly after 1 a.m. Saturday, the Los Angeles County Coroner reported that it was investigating the deaths of two people on Mulholland Highway in Malibu, an area that burned. The bodies were found “severely burned inside of a stopped vehicle” in a driveway.

Los Angeles County sheriff’s Commander Scott Gage said Sunday that detectives believe the driver “may have become disoriented while evacuating” and was “overcome by fire.”

Malibu Wines, a popular wine tasting spot that hosts “safari tours” of its ranch and vineyard, reports that it “lost a considerable portion” of its barns and facilities, but its employees and most of its animals, including the giraffe Stanley, are safe.

With the 101 closed in both directions from Valley Circle Boulevard to Reyes Adobe Road, authorities had advised residents to use Pacific Coast Highway to evacuate and to avoid canyon roads, all of which remain closed today.

PCH is closed in both directions from the Ventura County line to Sunset Boulevard; northbound it is open from Sunset to the 10.

North of the 101 freeway, flames swept into the Valley community of West Hills late on Friday night, and evacuation centers were set up in Woodland Hills, Pacific Palisades, and Topanga.


In Ventura, one evacuation center, the Thousand Oaks Teen Center, served as a family reunification site earlier this week in the wake of a mass shooting at Borderline Bar and Grill, where 13 people were killed.

Meteorologists with the National Weather Service warned Friday morning that the fire could spread rapidly because of gusty winds, low humidity, and “critically dry fuels,” including brush and vegetation.

At multiple points throughout the day Friday, the Los Angeles County Fire Department had to down water-dropping aircraft because of the wind and low visibility, said Osby.

“Our firefighters have been facing some extreme, tough fire conditions that they’ve said they’ve never seen in their lives,” he said.

A red flag warning is in effect through Tuesday, with the strongest winds forecasted to whip through the coast Sunday night and Monday. It’s not just the wind that will complicate the fire fight: Humidity levels are expected to linger in the single digits Monday morning through Tuesday afternoon.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has issued an air quality advisory for the San Fernando Valley, the western San Gabriel Valley, and central Los Angeles County.
List of Evacuations in Los Angeles County
[...]
List of Evacuation Centers and Animal Shelters
[..]

— Associate editor Bianca Barragan, urbanism editor Alissa Walker, and reporter Elijah Chiland contributed to this report.

This story will be updated.

[END REPORT]

California wildfires death toll now 31 but finding incinerated bodies won't be easy UPDATED 2:55 am ET 11/12

From NBC News, 6:01 PM ET:
The remains of six more people were found in the Northern California town of Paradise after the Camp Fire swept through the area, bringing the total number of deaths related to the blaze to 29 and matching the deadliest fire in state history, authorities said Sunday.
The latest fatalities brought the statewide death toll to 31, after the Woolsey Fire in Southern California killed two people.
Butte County Sheriff Kory L. Honea told reporters that five bodies in Paradise were found in homes and one was found in a vehicle.
[...]
From an Associated Press report, More bodies found as officials fight California wildfire published about an hour ago.
[...]
In Northern California, Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said the county consulted anthropologists from California State University at Chico because, in some cases, investigators have been able to recover only bones and bone fragments.
The devastation was so complete in some neighborhoods that “it’s very difficult to determine whether or not there may be human remains there,” Honea said.
Authorities were also bringing in a DNA lab and encouraged people with missing relatives to submit samples to aid in identifying the dead after the blaze destroyed more than 6,700 buildings, nearly all of them homes.
[...] 
The passages address an aspect of the Camp wildfire that is Grenfell Tower all over again. The Grenfell fire burned so hot on the upper stories of the apartment tower that trapped residents were incinerated -- cremated; there was nothing left of them to I.D., except in some cases bone fragments. The Camp wildfire that tore through Paradise in the north of California burned so hot that the same thing happened in certain cases. 

How many cases? Nobody is trying to guess at this time; all that's known is that there are still about 100 people missing, most if not all from the Camp fire in Paradise. (A local press outlet puts the number at 228 see update below.) 

Authorities have already located about 400 people who went missing during the chaos of frantic evacuations from the town. Cell phone service is still down and roads are impassable in many areas where the Camp wildfire has continued to burn in the north. 

So people who managed to make it out of Paradise and other areas where the Camp fire struck could be scattered throughout shelters or still be taking refuge with strangers across a wide area that's hard for searchers to get to at this point, let alone closely inspect.

UPDATE 
local press outlet puts the missing (from the Camp fire) at 228 although this number might include people who lived outside Paradise but near the Camp fire zone.  

********

It tolls for thee


Saturday, November 10

"Death toll rises to 23 in California's Camp Fire." The big winds return tomorrow. UPDATED

Update 11/12: 3:35 am ET: The death toll is now 31 -- 29 from the Camp fire, 2 from the Woosley fire -- with the number almost certain to continue rising.  

From a local news source: 110 still missing near Paradise, the town destroyed by the blaze. Authorities have whittled the list of missing from more than 500. Another local press outlet report, updated about 3 hours ago, puts the missing at 228 -- but reports the death toll as 29. Still fog of war situation.

END UPDATES

From CNN, 10:43 PM ET:

"The Camp Fire is the largest of the three major fires, swelling to 105,000 acres by Saturday morning."

"The flames were whipping and spreading so fast," Whitney Vaughan said after fleeing her home in Paradise. "It began to jump the road. There wasn't anywhere to go."

"Winds could gust as high as 30 to 50 mph, depending on elevation, on Sunday, officials said. Much of the state hasn't seen rain in more than a month, according to CNN meteorologists, and the dry vegetation has only served to fuel the fires."



[One Paradise resident clocked some wind gusts on Friday Thursday at 70 mph]

The death toll in the Camp Fire in Northern California has risen to 23 with the discovery Saturday of 14 more sets of remains, Butte County Sheriff and Coroner Kory Honea told reporters.

Honea said 10 of the victims were recovered from the fire-ravaged town of Paradise. He said seven people were found in homes, and three were outside. Of the remaining four, two were in cars and two were in houses in an area known as Concow.

Saturday brought a break in the fierce winds that have whipped the three major wildfires in California that have destroyed a record number of buildings and displaced more than 300,000 people.

But officials know the gusts will be back Sunday and most evacuation orders remain in place.

[...]

Woolsey Fire

More than 200,000 people have fled in Ventura County and in Malibu in Los Angeles County due to the Woolsey Fire, officials said.

Firefighters worked to protect thousands of students and staff sheltering in place Saturday at Pepperdine University as flames started reaching the campus overnight, school officials said.

[...]
The howling Santa Ana winds fueled the Woolsey Fire. These are strong, dry winds that high-pressure systems push from east to west, from the mountains and desert areas down into the Los Angeles area.

Fire officials said the winds had temporarily died down Saturday, giving them a brief opportunity to make progress.
"This is just a lull," Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl Osby said, "so we're going to take advantage of that and try to get as much line perimeter in as we can with the expectation that we will get more winds tomorrow."
Another round of Santa Ana winds is forecast to whip the area Sunday through Tuesday, though it may be weaker than Friday's.

[...]

Latest developments

  • Burning and growing: The Camp Fire is the largest of the three major fires, swelling to 105,000 acres by Saturday morning, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire. It is the most destructive blaze in the state's modern history. The Woolsey Fire doubled in size overnight, growing to 70,000 acres. The Hill Fire was at 4,500 acres.
[...]
  • Massive evacuations: Fire officials estimate the number of people forced from their homes statewide is more than 300,000; in Los Angeles County it is 170,000.

  • Containment: Firefighters are struggling to put down the flames. The Camp Fire is 20% contained, while the Woolsey Fire is just 5% contained. The Hill Fire was 25% contained.

  • Destruction: In Northern California, nearly 7,000 structures have been destroyed, including 80% to 90% of the homes in Paradise, north of Sacramento, according to officials. In Los Angeles and Ventura counties, a significant number of homes were destroyed or damaged, fire officials said.
[END]
Plenty more in the report, filed by Nicole Chavez, Dakin Andone and Steve Almasy for CNN.  


*****

Americans are doing to themselves what they've done to other peoples

There is now so much conflict between Republicans and Democrats, between vaunted conservatives and progressives, that talk abounds in the U.S. about a brewing 'new' civil war in the country -- an actual war not a metaphorical one. I see nothing strange about this turn of events; Americans are only doing to each other what we've been doing in other countries: foment as much division as possible in the name of social justice. 

Those who'd argue that the American instigations aren't really about social justice, that they're about getting control of a foreign government, are ignoring the psychological outcome of always seeking to exploit differences for any reason. 

The outcome is that we now have a generation of Americans who can't think outside the 'divide and save' mindset. That's only natural because repeated actions always create an entrenched way of thinking. The mindset gets hard to overcome when it spreads throughout a society. And so American politicians, many of whom are old enough to know how to think outside the box of divide and save, have gone along with the tide of a younger generation's thinking. 

One upshot is the prospect of another civil war in the United States. Another prospect would be actual or de-facto balkanization of the United States, which is exactly what Americans have been trying to do to Syria since our instigations in the name of social justice didn't work to get control of Syria's government.

There is a funny aspect to the situation for those always looking for ironies. The Saudi monarchy, which President Trump and his friend Israeli PM Netanyahu want to keep doing business with, isn't terribly fond of the concept of social justice. And so U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been castigating the Iranian ruling class for not being "normal." We just want them to act like normal members of the international community, he explained.

From social justice to normalcy. I wonder if Mr Pompeo has noticed that Americans are always calling each other crazy. Then again, crazy may be the new normal in the USA.

Is there any way at this stage for large numbers of Americans to wake up enough to avert the worst for themselves -- and halt yet more 'divide and save' tactics in other societies? I'll put it this way. If the two men shown in this photo can work together, just about anything is possible for the human race.

Claimants to title of 17th Karmapa: Thaye Dorje (L) and Ogyen Trinley Dorje
Work together is exactly what the two have agreed to do during a meeting in France this October that stunned Buddhists as well as China's government not to mention India's. 

A magazine for Buddhists called Tricycle reported on the first meeting between the two. But there is no way for anyone who is not already very familiar with the background to understand the import of the meeting just from the report. To get Americans in the ballpark, the differences between Trump supporters and the Obama camp are nothing, next to the divide that arose in Vajrayana Buddhism over which of two men is the 'real' Karmapa.

So while it's late in the day for Americans to work to shake off a habitual pattern of thought, late is always better than never.

**********

S. California: Woolsey fire doubles in size, gusty winds to pick up again tonight

Southern California:

Evacuations remain for Malibu, two found dead as Woolsey Fire doubles in size in Southern California; November 10, 2018, 3:16:27 PM EST, Accuweather:
Two people were found dead and more than 200,000 residents, including those in Malibu, remain under mandatory evacuation as the Woolsey and Hill fires rage in Southern California.
The Hill Fire has charred more than 4,500 acres with 25 percent containment as of Saturday morning. The fire is burning in the same area as the Springs Fire from 2013, according to the Ventura County Fire Department.
The second blaze, the Woolsey Fire, flared up south of Simi Valley on Thursday afternoon and rapidly spread on Thursday night. It has since burned 70,000 acres and is zero percent contained.
The two blazes have destroyed more than 150 homes.
Two people have been found dead in the fire zone, according to the Associated Press. Sheriff detectives are investigating the deaths.
The recent lull in gusty winds that helped firefighters at the start of the weekend will end on Saturday night.
[...]
Northern California:

Camp Fire burns over 6,400 structures, becomes most destructive fire in California history; November 10, 2018, 3:19:19 EST, Accuweather
A wind-driven wildfire continues to threaten communities and prompt evacuations after consuming nearly the entire town of Paradise.
The Camp Fire ignited around 6:30 a.m. local time Thursday and has burned 100,000 acres and is 20 percent contained.
As of Saturday morning, the number of structures destroyed was revised to 6,453. That makes it the most destructive individual fire in California history. Previously, the most destructive fire was the Tubbs fire which destroyed 5,636 structures in October of 2017.
Nine fatalities have been confirmed by officials, according to the Associated Press (AP). Three firefighters have also been injured during containment efforts.
[...]
********

Electricity or wildfire. Californians' stark choice during extreme fire weather

I'm not sure that the choice for PG&E is between safety and profits, as an attorney framed it. If the company routinely shuts off power during 'red alert' days I think a great many people in the affected areas will protest that they have a vital need for the electricity -- unless the company can pinpoint the outages to nonresidential areas, which I don't see how they can do.  An option might be to bury the power lines. But that would be very expensive, and the cost would be passed along to customers.     

PG&E: Transmission Line Issue Happened Near Origin Of Camp Fire
November 9, 2018 - 4:35 PM ET
The Associated Press via KPIX5 CBS TV San Francisco/Bay Area

BUTTE COUNTY, Calif. (AP) — PG&E officials on Friday said the utility experienced a problem on a transmission line minutes before the massive Camp Fire in Butte County erupted. An electric safety incident was reported by PG&E at about 6:15 a.m. Thursday near Pulga Road in Butte County, near where the Camp Fire started. In their summary of the incident PG&E states 'PG&E experienced an outage on the Caribou-Palermo 115 kV transmission line in Butte County.'

That afternoon PG&E technicians on aerial patrol observed damage to a transmission tower on the same transmission line, approximately one mile northeast of the community of Pulga in the area of the Camp Fire.

PG&E officials noted in the report that the information is preliminary.

The utility been blamed for some of the Wine Country wildfires of October 2017 that destroyed hundreds of homes, forced the evacuation of 90,000 North Bay residents and left more than 40 people dead.

Last June the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection report determined that PG&E power lines and equipment failures were to blame for 12 of the catastrophic wildfires.[1]

PG&E has since implemented a new policy that will cut electricity to certain areas during extreme fire weather conditions.

“If their lines are involved and there’s a repeat pattern of failure to engage in risk management, then those people should go to jail,” said Frank Pitre, an attorney who has represented fire victims from San Bruno to Santa Rosa in suits against PG&E.

Speaking with KPIX 5’s Joe Vazquez, Pitre said he doesn’t understand why the utility company failed to follow through with its plan for preemptive power outages.

“To do things like shutting off power in the face of known high danger of winds and high risk of a fire … that’s courage. That’s leadership. And that’s when you put safety first above profits,” Pitre said.

The Camp Fire has killed at least nine people and destroyed thousands of homes. Paradise is 180 miles northeast of San Francisco.

[END REPORT]


1) From the report:  
Cal Fire said the 12 fires involving PG&E equipment were:
Redwood Fire, Mendocino County – tree or parts of trees falling onto PG&E power lines
Sulphur Fire, Lake County – power pole failure; power lines and equipment coming in contact with the ground
Cherokee Fire, Butte County – tree limbs coming into contact with PG&E power lines
37 Fire, Sonoma County – electrical; associated with the PG&E distribution lines in area
Blue Fire, Humboldt County – power line conductor separates from connector, falling to ground
Norrbom Fire, Sonoma, Napa Counties – tree falling onto power lines
Adobe Fire, Sonoma, Napa Counties – tree falling onto power line
Patrick Fire, Sonoma, Napa Counties – tree falling onto power line
Pythian Fire, Sonoma, Napa Counties – downed powerline
Nuns Fire, Sonoma, Napa Counties – part of tree breaking, contacting power line
Pocket Fire, Sonoma County – part of tree breaking, contacting power line
Atlas Fire – Napa County – large tree limb, tree falling onto power line in separate locations
The report has lots more information but it looks to me as if all but one of the incidents could have been due to wind events, which can be at hurricane or near-hurricane force during the annual 'Diablo' or Santa Ana winds. Add bone dry vegetation, a spark from a transmission line, and presto! catastrophic wildfire. 

********

Friday, November 9

Paradise is gone

Just like that. A town of close to 30,000 people, pretty much destroyed by a wildfire within a few hours. From Accuweather, report last updated 3:39 AM Eastern Time: 
A wind-driven wildfire continues to threaten communities and prompt evacuations after consuming nearly the entire town of Paradise.
The Camp Fire ignited around 6:30 a.m. local time Thursday and has burned over 20,000 acres and is zero percent contained.
On Thursday afternoon, a state of emergency was declared in Butte County in response to the growing Camp Fire.
An evacuation order was issued for all of Paradise, home to over 27,000 people, where many had only minutes to flee the rapidly spreading blaze.
“Pretty much the community of Paradise is destroyed, it’s that kind of devastation,” Cal Fire Capt. Scott McLean said via the Associated Press (AP). “The wind that was predicted came and just wiped it out.”
As the Camp Fire continues to grow, evacuation orders have expanded into the city of Chico, California, where over 93,000 people live. An evacuation warning is in effect for areas south of Highway 32 and east of Bruce Road inside the city limits, according to the Chico Police Department.

[...]
The report continues with much detail. See also updated reports from local press Redding Record Searchlight.  

********

Thursday, November 8

Hondurans to US: We wish to invade your country but we'll need transport to get there

No wonder the 'migrants' can't get anything done in their own country. And few are actually in desperate straits because only a few have accepted repeated offers of asylum -- and jobs -- from Mexico's government.
Central American migrants in Mexico want demand buses to US border
By MARIA VERZA AND CHRISTOPHER SHERMAN
November 8, 2018 - 4:39 PM ET
The Associated Press via AOL

"The Mexican government has said most of the migrants have refused offers to stay in Mexico"

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Central American migrants in a caravan that has stopped in Mexico City demanded buses Thursday to take them to the U.S. border, saying it is too cold and dangerous to continue walking and hitchhiking.

Mexico City authorities say that of the 4,841 registered migrants receiving shelter in a sports complex, 1,726 are under the age of 18, including 310 children under five.

"We need buses to continue travelling," said Milton Benitez, a caravan coordinator. Benitez noted that It would be colder in northern Mexico and it wasn't safe for the migrants to continue along highways, where drug cartels frequently operate.

He said the route and departure time would be decided at a meeting Thursday night.

The Mexican government has said most of the migrants have refused offers to stay in Mexico, and only a small number have agreed to return to their home countries. About 85 percent of the migrants are from Honduras, while others are from the Central American countries of Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua.

"California is the longest route but is the best border, while Texas is the closest but the worst" border, said Jose Luis Fuentes of the National Lawyers Guild to gathered migrants.

[...]


*****
Enough. You can read the rest of the report at AOL, if you have the stomach for it, but the rest of the story boils down to 'activists' pushing the 'migrants' along.  

******** 

Paradise evacuated as California's Camp fire closes in (UPDATED 6:25, 6:55. 7:35, 8:50 , 9:00 pm ET, 11/9 - 4:32 AM ET)

UPDATE 4:32 AM ET,  11/9
Paradise is gone. 

UPDATE 9:00 PM ET
From SFGate report published 5:45 PT [8:45 PM ET]:

[The fire started at 6:30 AM PT and within three hours went from 10 acres to 5,000 and then to 18,000 and counting.] 

[...]



Evacuation efforts were “difficult, to say the least,” said Lt. Al Smith of the Butte County Sheriff’s Office, noting that several deputies who ventured into evacuation zones to rescue residents also became trapped by flames burning around them. “I can’t think of an area that’s safe right now.”
[...]
Firefighters spent the morning trying to evacuate trapped Paradise residents while creating firebreaks within the town and even moving some people to empty parking lots.
“In the past few years, just the way fires have moved, firefighters have had to help with evacuations before they can go back in to put out the fire,” said Lynne Tolmachoff, a spokeswoman with the state Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire.

[...]
UPDATE 8:50 PM ET
My notes from a 4:40 PM PT [7:40 PM ET] Los Angeles Times report on the Camp fire:
  • Paradise is a retirement community
  • The sudden fire created chaos.
  • Fire is fueled by dry and windy weather conditions, which are expected to continue into Friday evening. [Friday morning, from the latest update at Chico Enterprise-Record posted at 5:57 PM PT.]
  • "Multiple evacuation centers [for Paradise evacuees] were opened in churches and on fairgrounds in nearby towns."
  • "Thousands of motorists spilled onto local roadways, following recently redesigned evacuation routes intended to make it easier for them to escape. Yet many wound up sitting in gridlock."
  • The fire is burning in areas that are difficult for firefighters to reach.
  • Unconfirmed reports of fatalities.

UPDATE 7:35 PM ET
Updates from Chico Enterprise-Record continue; the last one was 4:28 PM PT
Dignity Health spokesman Mike Mangas reports that Feather River Hospital in Paradise has been destroyed by fire, according to information from John Lord, the associate director of the Sierra-Sacramento Valley Emergency Medical Services Agency [...]
UPDATE 6:55 PM ET
From 3:40 PT update Chico Enterprise-Record
Twitter users are saying smoke from the Camp Fire has reached San Francisco and other Bay Area cities. Photos show the smoke beginning to obscure the Golden Gate Bridge.
UPDATE 6:25 PM
Good grief. The fire is now covering 18,00 acres; it was 8,000 a couple hours ago. I've just added more updates from the Chico Enterprise-Record report, below. This situation is getting more serious by the minute. From the Sputnik report, resources are spread thin -- "resources" meaning help with evacuations.  One problem with evacuation is simply gridlock; vehicles leaving the town are end-to-end. The following photo was taken earlier in the day, and even then traffic was heavy. At least one roadway had to be blocked off because of the fire.   
END UPDATE

Don Thompson/Associated Press

Camp Fire E/SE of Chico at 10:43 AM PT


Photo by Chico resident Eric Kiesow via Chico Enterprise-Record

Talk about a metaphor. But this is California, where fire season is now year round.  27,000 people in the town of Paradise had to evacuate because a wildfire in Butte County, officially (and confusingly) named the Camp Fire, exploded into a fast-moving conflagration. Photos/video of the onrushing fire are apocalyptic. I took the one above from Sputnik, which also posts videos of evacuees trying to outpace the fire in their vehicles with varying degrees of success; some Paradise evacuees have had to abandon their vehicles and flee on foot. But so far no deaths that I know about although there have been scores of 'injuries.' 

Below are the latest updates and first report on the fire from a local paper (AP and the San Francisco Chronicle, which Sputnik quoted, are also closely watching the fire.) But first some background from Sputnik's summary of other reports:

A raging wildfire in Northern California has forced the 27,000 residents of the city of Paradise to flee. Dramatic footage shows flames closing in around the highways out of town and thick smoke hanging in the sky, obscuring the horizon.
Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea called it a "very dangerous and serious situation," AP reports, and noted that some residents have been forced to abandon their vehicles to escape the conflagration.
[...]
Paradise sits in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, near the larger town of Chico and about 75 miles north of the state capital of Sacramento. However, on Thursday the place is very far from paradise: a rapidly growing wildfire encompassing 6,000 acres [at last count 8,000 acres] is closing in on the town, forcing its residents to drop everything and evacuate, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
[...]
​Cal Fire, the state's agency responsible for managing the region's chronic wildfires, reported that the blaze has been dubbed the "Camp Fire," a humorously serendipitous name that comes from its place of origin: the area of Camp Creek Road and Pulga Road near Highway 70 in the Feather River Canyon, to the east of town. At least one young resident was confused by the name.
[...]
Honea says resources are spread thin, but officials are "doing everything we can to get people out of the affected areas."

Combined staff reports
Published 9:50 a.m. PT Nov. 8, 2018 | Updated 1:50 p.m. PT [4:50 p.m. ET] [Last updated 3:40 PM]
Chico Enterprise-Record

[see site for video and 26 photos]
UPDATE: 3:40 p.m.
Twitter users are saying smoke from the Camp Fire has reached San Francisco and other Bay Area cities.
Photos show the smoke beginning to obscure the Golden Gate Bridge.
A north wind is blowing the smoke south from Paradise.
UPDATE: 3:30 p.m.
A woman who evacuated due to the Camp Fire told The Associated Press that people abandoned their vehicles to flee the blaze and held babies and pets as they escaped.
Gina Oviedo said there were flames everywhere as she got out of Paradise.

Oviedo described a devastating scene, saying homes were engulfed in flames and utility poles were crashing down. She said people left their vehicles and ran when they started hearing explosions.

UPDATE: 3:07 p.m.
A spokeswoman for the Adventist Health Feather River Hospital in Paradise told The Associated Press that 20 patients had to go back to the facility after evacuating because of gridlocked traffic.
Hospital spokeswoman Jill Kinney said clinics and other outbuildings were on fire or had been damaged, but the main hospital was untouched.
At least 27,000 people in Paradise have been ordered to flee.
UPDATE: 3 p.m.
Acting California Gov. Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency due to the Camp Fire, according to The Associated Press.
Newsom issued the declaration for Butte County as the fast-moving fire continues to burn around the town of Paradise, about 15 miles from Chico.
Newsom is filling in as governor while Gov. Jerry Brown is out of the state.
UPDATE: 2:58 p.m.
Enloe Medical Center in Chico reports that the number of patients who have been transferred to Enloe from Adventist Health Feather River in Paradise has risen to 35, said Natali Munoz-Moore, Enloe’s digital media specialist. She did not have information on their conditions.
UPDATE: 2:45 p.m.
150 people are huddled in a commercial building in Paradise, hoping for rescue, according to a tweet by Chico Enterprise-Record Editor David Little.
UPDATE: 2:37 p.m.
The fire is now 18,000 acres, Cal Fire is reporting. 
UPDATE, 2:35 p.m.
A new evacuation order has been called for the Nimshew Road area. 
UPDATE, 2:25 p.m.

Evacuee Sherri Pritchard said a neighbor told her that her yard was on fire, so she's certain her house is gone by now. 
UPDATE: 1:50 p.m.
New evacuations are being ordered in the lower Clark and lower Skyway areas, the Butte County Sheriff's Office announced this afternoon. 
Meanwhile, the Redding Police Department announced it was sending eight officers to help handle the Camp Fire
UPDATE, 1:45 p.m.
Tyler Holmer and his family were hanging out in the Chico mall's parking lot today after evacuating from their Paradise home. 
Holmer said he got up this morning to go to school and saw flames on a ridge in the distance.
Then the Camp Fire grew out of control. 
"The whole other side was on fire when we woke up this morning," Holmer said. "The sky was orange and raining ash."
UPDATE: 1:20 p.m.
The fire is now 8,000 acres, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. 
UPDATE, 1:17 p.m.
Enloe Medical Center in Chico had received 24 patients as of 10:57 a.m. on Thursday. Those patients had been transferred from Adventist Health Feather River in Paradise, said Natali Munoz-Moore, Enloe’s digital media specialist. She did not have information on the condition of the patients, or their injuries.

Other hospitals have offered to assist Enloe, she said, “but we not actively seeking it out.”
A note on the Adventist Health Feather River website says: “Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone in our community during this challenging time. Due to the current Camp Fire, Adventist Health Feather River is closed. All patients have been safely evacuated and transported to Oroville Hospital or Enloe Medical Center.”
UPDATE, 1:10 p.m.
Highway 99 is now closed as far north as Corning in Tehama County, Caltrans announced on Twitter. The newest closure starts at 99 and South Avenue. 
UPDATE, 12:40 p.m.
Highway 99 in the area of the fire is now closed, Caltrans announced on Twitter this afternoon. The closure is from the junction of Highway 32 to Highway 149. 
UPDATE, 11:55 a.m.
Minutes after their previous evacuation order, the Butte County Sheriff's Office has issued even more evacuations, this time for those living near Highway 70 and Concow Road on both sides of the road, including all of Yankee Hill. 
UPDATE, 11:50 a.m.
The Butte County Sheriff's Office has ordered new evacuations from the intersection of Pentz Road and Highway 70 south to Highway 149.
[...]