CAL FIRE reported that two suspects have been arrested for the burglary and looting of a CAL FIRE station during the Camp Fire on November 8.
Robert DePalma and William Erlbacher, both of Concow, California, were arrested on five felony counts including vehicle theft, looting during an emergency, and possession of stolen property.
Their bail is set at $250,000 each.
The fire has killed at least 81 people and destroyed over 13,700 residences in Paradise and other nearby communities in California. About 870 people are still unaccounted for.
Looting an evacuated area that has been devastated by a natural disaster is one of the most disgusting, abhorrent, and sleazy crimes there is. But doing it at a facility where public employees are out helping citizens and putting their lives on the line takes it to a repugnant new level. If DePalma and Erlbacher are found guilty they deserve the the most severe sentence allowed under the law.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke blamed “environmental radicals” for the California wildfires that have killed at least 77 people, saying they stop forest management practices that could have prevented the fires.
Days after touring the damage of the Camp fire, the deadliest in California’s history, Zinke went on Breitbart News Sunday and declared “it’s not the time for finger-pointing” on the causes of the fires.
But minutes later, he put the blame squarely on environmentalists, contending that they stood in the way of clearing brush, doing prescribed burns and other actions.
“I will lay this on the foot of those environmental radicals that have prevented us from managing the forests for years. And you know what? This is on them,” Zinke said.
While touring the Camp and Woolsey Fires Saturday Mr. Trump reiterated at every stop that he believes forest management in California was the key issue in preventing devastating fires, and threatened to cut fire funding for the state. He mentioned the “forest nation” of Finland as a good example that spends “a lot of time raking and cleaning….”
The fatality count on the Camp Fire east of Chico rose again Sunday as search teams found another set of human remains to bring the total loss of life to 77, with 993 unaccounted for. The current tally for the number of homes destroyed is 11,990, and acres burned, 151,000. The number of commercial structures burned rose from 367 to 472.
The remains of three individuals have been found in the Woolsey Fire at Malibu, California. That fire has burned 96,949 acres and 1,130 structures.
Areas in Northern California have been suffering through unprecedented air pollution since the Camp Fire started November 8 east of Chico. Sacramento, San Francisco, and Stockton have all recorded record high levels.
The animation below shows the predicted wind direction for Northern California at 9 a.m. PST November 19, 2018. If accurate, the wind could bring smoke from the Camp Fire, which is just east of Chico, down into the Sacramento Valley, the Bay Area, and the Central Valley on Monday. This condition should reverse Tuesday through Friday with the smoke being pushed to the north away from San Francisco, but Saturday could again bring wind and smoke from the north if the Camp Fire is still active.
On Sunday and Sunday night the Camp Fire was active on the east side and will likely produce a significant amount of smoke Monday. But Wednesday through Friday should bring copious amounts of rain to the fire area, perhaps more than two inches, which will definitely inhibit the production of smoke and slow the spread of the fire — at least.
The fatality count on the Camp Fire rose again Sunday as search teams found another set of human remains to bring the total loss of life to 77, with 993 unaccounted for. The current tally for the number of homes destroyed is 11,990, and acres burned, 151,000. The number of commercial structures burned rose from 367 to 472.
Mr. Trump traveled to a burned trailer park at the Camp Fire
(UPDATED at 1:31 p.m. PST November 18, 2018)
Yesterday President Trump traveled to California to see first hand the destruction caused by the two recent very large fires in the state. Air Force One landed at Beale Air Force Base and then Mr. Trump helicoptered in Marine One about 40 miles north to the Incident Command Post for the Camp Fire at Chico where he met with Governor Jerry Brown and Governor-elect Gavin Newsom. He also had a very short briefing from the Incident Commander as they looked at the progression map (see the map above).
To see all articles on Wildfire Today about the Camp Fire, including the most recent, click HERE.
Saturday evening Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea announced that five more bodies were found, bringing the total number killed on the Camp Fire to 76. More than 1,200 are on the unaccounted for list, but officials warn that it most likely includes duplications and errors. According to CAL FIRE the fire has burned 149,000 acres, 9,891 residences, and 367 commercial structures.
The group toured a portion of the burned area in Paradise with the city’s Mayor Jody Jones, and made a stop at the Skyway Villa Mobile Home and RV Park.
While at the Incident Command Post Mr. Trump promised to include $500 million in the Farm Bill in what he called “a new category, management and maintenance of forests”. At every stop Saturday he reiterated that forest management was a key issue in preventing devastating fires, including later in the day when visited the Woolsey Fire in Southern California. Firefighters and California residents are still reeling from the President’s November 10 tweet when he wrote:
There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor. Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!
During his visit Mr. Trump mentioned the “forest nation” of Finland as a good example that spends “a lot of time raking and cleaning….”
I grew up in Finland. a) it rains all year round. b) we have a lengthy and cold winter. c) Finland is a sparsely populated country with just over 5mil ppl, with land size ~3/4 of CA and most of it forests and lakes. d) no friggin body is raking the forests.
When a reporter asked him if he had changed his mind about climate change after viewing the damage, he said:
No, no. I have a strong opinion. I want a great climate. I think we’re going to have that and I think we’re going to have forests that are really safe.
The video below was filmed while the President was at the Incident Command Post for the Camp Fire.
On Friday Butte County officials asked those who want to help the thousands of residents who lost all of their belongings, to not donate clothing or other items, but to send cash. The logistics of accepting clothes, including cleaning, storage, and redistribution, are very space and time consuming, especially in light of the rain that is in the forecast. “Shelter and drop-off locations are at capacity and cannot take any more items!” the county said on its Facebook page.
Deer Creek Resources of Chico, California has produced four images that show the Camp Fire about seven hours after it started near Pulga, California on November 8, 2018. Zeke Lunder used data from LANDSAT 8 with the infrared heat layer to map the location of the fire at 1:10 p.m. PST. By that time it was burning thousands of homes in Paradise.
Click on the photos twice to enlarge them. To help get oriented take note of the north indicator that is at the top-right on three of the four photos. Presumably north is at the top in the other photo.
To see all articles on Wildfire Today about the Camp Fire, including the most recent, click HERE.
CAL FIRE has not released the cause of the fire but Pacific Gas & Electric disclosed to the Public Utilities Commission that one of their high voltage power lines had a disruption in service on Pulga Road near the Camp Fire at 6:15 a.m. the day it started, November 8. The burn pattern along with the wind direction would lead one to believe that it is likely that the point of origin of the fire was in the general vicinity of Pulga Road and the small community of Pulga, but this is not confirmed. The fire was reported at 6:29 a.m.
The death toll increased Thursday evening to a total of 66 for the two fires in California.
(UPDATED at 8:07 p.m. PST November 15, 2018)
Thursday evening fire authorities updated some of the information about the Camp Fire which has devastated areas around the town of Paradise, California. According to the Butte County Sheriff’s Office the number of fatalities has risen to 63, an increase of 7 over the last 24 hours. And surprisingly, the number that are unaccounted for changed from 130 to 631. Some of those could be in shelters, relocated to another part of the state, or without means of communication.
As of Thursday evening the fire has destroyed 9,700 single residences, 118 multi-residences, and 290 commercial structures, for a total of 10,108 buildings.
According to CAL FIRE, the Camp fire has burned 141,000 acres, an increase of exactly 1,000 acres in 24 hours.
(Originally published at 8:25 a.m. PST November 15, 2018)
A total of more than a quarter of a million acres have burned in the Woolsey and Camp Fires in California.
About 460 workers and 22 cadaver dogs are assessing the path that the Camp Fire took as it devastated the town of Paradise in Northern California on November 8. The estimated number of homes destroyed in the blaze is fluid and keeps rising, reaching 8,756 Thursday morning with another 260 commercial structures destroyed. The fatalities the crews have discovered has risen to 56, with 130 people still unaccounted for.
To see all articles on Wildfire Today about the Woolsey Fire, including the most recent, click HERE. For the Camp Fire, click HERE.
For the last several days the Camp Fire has continued to spread on the north and east sides, at a slower rate than earlier, but still adding thousands of acres each day. CAL FIRE is saying the fire has burned 140,000 acres.
ESRI and CAL FIRE, working with local emergency service providers, have established a mapping system that displays the status of structures affected by the Camp Fire. It is still a work in progress and is far from complete, as the workers survey the more than 10,000 homes in the Paradise and Magalia areas. Residents can view the map and search for addresses at the internet site.
Some of the refugees from the Camp Fire who have not been allowed into the burned area are living in temporary shelters and camping in parking lots of Walmart and other businesses.
In southern California, the Woolsey Fire has grown very little in the last couple of days, but unburned islands of vegetation occasionally ignite and put up substantial smoke columns. Officials estimate that 504 structures have been destroyed, but a survey that was 25 percent complete Wednesday evening found 370 that were confirmed to have burned. The numbers have not been broken out by residences, outbuildings, and commercial structures.
At about 12:20 Thursday morning a firefighter on the Woolsey Fire was struck by a passing civilian vehicle on the Pacific Coast Highway and was flown to Los Robles Regional Medical Center in Thousand Oaks. The injuries for the firefighter, who was from South Kitsap Fire and Rescue in Washington, were non-life threatening. Officials said it was not a hit and run incident.
On Wednesday fire officials raised the death total to three on the Woolsey Fire. CAL FIRE is saying the blaze has burned 98,362 acres.