Fire Now Tied for Deadliest in California History

Butte County's Camp Fire has killed at least 29
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 12, 2018 6:59 AM CST
Fire Now Tied for Deadliest in California History
As the Camp Fire burns nearby, a scorched car rests by gas pumps near Pulga, Calif., on Sunday.   (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

A somber update to one of the wildfires raging through California: Twenty-nine people have died and 228 are missing in the wake of Butte County's Camp Fire, putting the blaze in a tie for the highest death toll since the state started keeping records, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. The record had previously been held by 1933's Griffith Park Fire in Los Angeles County, which also claimed 29 lives. The inferno had already claimed the record for the worst in regard to property destruction: More than 6,400 homes and about 260 commercial buildings have been destroyed, and officials say those numbers are likely not the final tallies. "This event was the worst-case scenario," Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea says, per the Washington Post. "It's the event that we have feared for a long time."

That fire, plus the Hill Fire and Woolsey Fire in Southern California, are wreaking havoc across the state: San Francisco is filled with smoke, an entire town has been "wiped out," and even celebrities and Hollywood sets haven't been immune to the devastation. And while President Trump has placed the onus on "gross mismanagement of the forests," California Gov. Jerry Brown points the finger at climate change, calling the fire "truly a tragedy" and noting that global warming "is threatening our whole way of life," per the Chronicle. Americans can expect to pay "probably hundreds of billions" of dollars to fight such fires in the years to come, he says. "This is not the new normal. This is the new abnormal." (This viral video shows a dad escaping the fire with his 3-year-old daughter in tow.)

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