California wildfires leave 31 people dead

 Homes leveled by the Camp Fire line a development on Edgewood Lane in Paradise, Calif., Monday, Nov. 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

Homes leveled by the Camp Fire line a development on Edgewood Lane in Paradise, Calif., Monday, Nov. 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

Devastating wildfires have broken out across California, leaving 31 people dead and 250,000 evacuated from their homes so far.

The fire initially broke out on Thursday in Paradise, a northern California city. Residents frantically tried evacuating their homes as streets became engulfed in flames. Traffic was at a standstill and several people died in their cars.

Strong winds and dry conditions threaten to spread the flames even more, which will undo the progress made thus far and leave people questioning when the fires will be contained.

“Everything was igniting at once. Swirling winds, swirling embers, fire on both sides of the roads. I lost count how many times I ran over down power lines,” Scott McLean, the deputy chief of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, said.

The fire has been named “Camp Fire” and is now considered the deadliest in California history. Sheriff Kory Honea of Butte County said 228 people are still unaccounted for and extensive search efforts are underway.

The fire is showing no signs of letting up. Over 6,700 structures have been destroyed so far, many of them being homes.

President Trump tweeted a controversial message the other day saying the reason for these fires is due to poor forest management. He went on to say that California needs to “get smart” in order to prevent future fires.

Camp Fire is one of three wildfires currently taking place in California. Two fires west of Los Angeles, the Woolsey Fire and the Hill Fire, are raging through the southern part of the state.

The Pacific Coast Highway is closed to non-emergency personnel, making it hard for residents to evacuate. These fires claimed two lives thus far and many homes.

Celebrities including Miley Cyrus, Neil Young and Robin Thicke lost their homes as the blaze tore through Malibu mansions. There have been 90,000 acres burned, mainly in Malibu and Thousand Oaks.

The Hill Fire is about 70 percent contained, whereas the Woolsey Fire is being spread by winds, since it is closer to the coast, and is estimated to be only 20 percent contained. The forecast is predicting strong winds and no rain for the remainder of the week stoking fear from residents and firefighters.

Thousand Oaks can’t seem to catch a break. The deadly fires come just days after a mass shooting occurred at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks. The city is trying to return to normalcy following being rocked by these two tragedies.

There are many ways in which you can help. A GoFundMe page has been setup to raise money for relief efforts for families affected. Google is also accepting donations that they are going to give to the Center for Disaster Philanthropy.

People whose homes have not been affected are urged to open their doors to victims. So far over 700 homes have been opened. Local animal shelters and human societies are also accepting donations to help animals that have been displaced.


Emma Gehr is a campus correspondent for the Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at emma.gehr@uconn.edu.