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Number of homes destroyed by Camp Fire swells to more than 11,000

The number is expected to grow

Charred remains of mobile homes line a street at a mobile home park burned in the Camp Fire.
Photo by AP Photo/John Locher

What started as a minor bush fire on November 8 grew into the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history. In addition to 77 fatalities—a toll that’s expected to rise as recovery efforts get underway—more than 11,000 homes were destroyed in only 11 days.

“At first what has come to be known as the Camp Fire devoured 10 football-field-size chunks of terrain every minute—and then, with a startling ferocity that has become all too familiar in recent years, it rampaged through Butte County neighborhoods,” reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

A recent Los Angeles Times article paints a graphic and harrowing picture of how the fire spread and what the mass evacuation looked like for residents caught in the blaze’s path.

Scores of people who escaped the wildfire, with nowhere to go, took to pitching tents outside of a Chico Walmart, creating a makeshift encampment that has turned into a de facto distribution area for donated food and clothing.

San Jose Mercury News has more:

An ad hoc group of volunteers came together in the immediate wake of the fire to begin doling out food to fire evacuees who found themselves clustering in the lot. Since then, the makeshift evacuation center has grown, with estimates of several hundred people at one point. Some of those initial volunteers are now trying to help people transition to other more formal shelters.

It’s not always easy to convince people to leave, said Abraham Mosher, a Chico resident who’s been volunteering at the parking lot since shortly after the fire sent people fleeing from their homes. Many were turned off from the shelters after hearing reports of norovirus sickening people who stayed there, he said.

Homeowners who want to temporarily offer their homes to fire victims can post listings on Airbnb care of the company’s Open Homes program. Fire victims can also peruse the listings to find temporary shelter. Hosts marked on the map will open their homes for free from today to November 29, 2018 for both displaced residents and relief workers.

The Camp Fire, which is at 66 percent containment as of Monday morning, also destroyed just under 3,000 businesses and other structures.

A person walks over the rubble of a house that has burned down in a fire. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images