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.


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.
Plenty more in the report, filed by Nicole Chavez, Dakin Andone and Steve Almasy for CNN.  


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