California’s nightmarish Camp Fire is nearly out after weeks of destruction, but firefighters are still finding new bodies even as the confirmed death toll has risen to 85.
According to CNN, officials found two additional bodies in Paradise, the town wiped off the map by the fire’s rapid advance in early November, and another in the nearby town of Magalia. The latest incident report on the Cal Fire website said that 13,696 single residences, 276 multiple residences, 528 commercial properties, and 4,293 other structures had been destroyed, with 153,336 acres burned. The fire is now fully contained, Cal Fire wrote, meaning it has not been put out but a fire line will prevent its further spread:
The fireline that remained uncontained has now been contained, bringing containment to 100%. Fire suppression repair personnel continue conduct rehab where possible. Search and Rescue Crews, US&R Teams, and engine companies continue with search efforts.
Some 2,500 people originally believed to be missing after the fire have been accounted for, CNN added, though 249 names remain on a list of missing individuals. Recent rains have complicated search efforts, with search teams hampered due to fire-ravaged trees and structures that collapsed in the downpour and local authorities warning of flash floods and debris flows. Officials briefly overstated the confirmed death toll at 87 due to human error, the Sacramento Bee wrote.
Thousands of people remain displaced, some in emergency shelters or hotels and some in makeshift campsites. In the long run, the Los Angeles Times noted, a Butte County homeless population already estimated at 2,000 is likely to grow, while other people are likely to leave the state.
“The real question is where do people go?” Butte County Housing Authority Executive Director Ed Mayer told the Times. “And at first blush, the answer is: probably leaving California, if they can go anywhere. Because there is no availability in California.”
41-year-old Leanne Watts, whose Paradise home was destroyed and is living with her family of six in a Yuba City hotel, told the Times her stay was being paid for until the end of the month by an attorney representing her in a lawsuit against Pacific Gas & Electric Co., a utility company whose electric lines may have sparked the fire. Beyond that, it’s unclear where her family will stay or how they will pay for necessities.
“This has completely ruined our lives,” Watts told the paper. “I don’t know what we’re going to do. There’s nothing.”