California's Devastating Camp Fire

The "Camp Fire" just north of Sacramento has destroyed just under 9,000 homes and has forced nearly 52,000 evacuations. Although the start of the fire is still up for debate, two dozen victims have filed a lawsuit against Pacific Gas & Electric Co., because they claim there was not proper maintenance of their power lines. The death toll keeps rising, as does the number of people unaccounted for. On top of all the destruction from the fires, there’s rain in the forecast. Normally, you’d think this would be good news; the rain should help put out the fires. But, because the trees that would keep the ground in place have been burned, the rain could cause incredibly dangerous mudslides.

Even the shelters are getting dangerous, as there’s been a confirmed norovirus outbreak. The norovirus is similar to the flu in its symptoms and its ability to spread rapidly through communities, especially shelters housing hundreds of people in close quarters. People are running out of money to stay in hotels, and those staying with family or friends can only stay for so long. 

Many people in Butte County, where the Camp Fire started, didn’t even get emergency alerts that told them they needed to evacuate, and those who did didn’t get them soon enough. The fire was spreading so quickly, it was nearly impossible to keep up with alerting the community. As of November 17, the fire is still only 55% contained. The fire reportedly grew 10,000 acres in 90 minutes last Thursday afternoon and has thus far burned through 140,000 acres and destroyed nearly 90% of the town of Paradise. 

You can help those affected by the Camp Fire, or any of the other devastating California Wildfires by donating money to the American Red Cross or the California Community Foundation’s Wildfire Relief Fund.