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Butte County fire grows to 142,000 acres, deadliest fire in state history [Updated]

“Listen to evacuation orders and leave immediately”

California Town Of Paradise Devastated By The Camp Fire Continues Search And Recovery Efforts Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Update, November 16: The Camp Fire grew to 142,000 acres by Friday morning. Thus far Cal Fire reports 63 confirmed casualties and an estimated 9,700 homes destroyed. More than 600 people remain missing.

The only good news is that fire crews appear to be making some significant progress, with the fire now 45 percent contained.

Almost all evacuation centers are presently listed as full, with the exception of Bidwell Middle School in Chico. Most Bay Area schools have closed and canceled classes until further notice.


Update-November 15: The Camp Fire sits at 138,000 acres as of Wednesday night, while the death toll has risen to 56 as the search for more than 100 still-mission persons continues.


Update-November 14: The Camp Fire’s reported rate of growth has slowed a bit, reaching approximately 130,000 acres Tuesday night.

While that’s hardly good news, it does represent the smallest day over day increase in the burn’s approximate acreage since it began last week.

Cal Fire’s latest incident report updated the estimated casualty total to 48 and estimate some 7,600 residences and 260 commercial buildings destroyed.

Evacuation orders are still in effect.


Update-November 13: The Camp Fire grew to an estimated 125,000 acres Tuesday morning, and Cal Fire reports just 30 percent containment.

The blaze is now both the most destructive fire on record in California as well as the most deadly, with 42 confirmed casualties so far even as the search for more missing persons continues.


Update-November 12: Cal Fire reports that the Camp Fire grew to 117,000 acres since Sunday night and that fire crews maintained 30 percent containment.

With 29 reported casualties, the Camp Fire is almost deadliest fire in California history, surpassing the Oakland Hills blaze of 1991 (which killed 25) and tying the 1933 Griffith Park burn in LA.

With many of the evacuation centers established last week now full, a series of new shelters has opened and are accepting evacuees throughout the county:

  • Bidwell Jr. Highschool (2376 North Ave, Chico CA 95926)
  • Yuba-Sutter Fairground (442 Franklin Ave, Yuba City, CA 95991)
  • Plumas County Fairgrounds (204 Fairground Rd, Quincy CA 95971)
  • Glenn County Fairgrounds (221 E Yolo St, Orland, CA 95963)
  • Butte County Fairgrounds (199 E Hazel St, Gridley, CA 95948)

Evacuation centers for animals that still have vacancies are as follows:

  • Chico Municipal Airport (150 Airpark Blvd, Chico, CA 95973, small animals)
  • Butte County Fair Grounds (199 E Hazel Street, Gridley, CA, large animals)

For a full list of current evacuation orders and warnings, go here. A reminder that it is illegal to ignore evacuation orders in the state of California.

Cal Fire’s latest incident report estimates that full containment will not occur until November 30, although such estimates are often moving targets anyway.


Update - November 11: At least 23 people dead, the Camp Fire has torched 111,000 acres. However, containment grew to 25 percent overnight.


Update - November 10, 7:50 a.m.: Camp containment at 20 percent as of Saturday morning, according to Cal Fire.


Update - November 9, 7:45 p.m.: Death toll rises to nine; all of the victims were found inside the city of Paradise. The Camp Fire, which sparked on Thursday and has since destroyed at least 6,000 homes, is now the most destructive wildfire in California’s recorded history.

The cause for the blaze is not yet known, although unconfirmed radio transmissions claim PG&E power lines may have sparked the fire. The power company says it’s too soon to place any blame.


Update - November 9, 3:25 p.m.: At least six people confirmed dead. Butte County Sheriff’s Department says victims died of smoke inhalation while trying to escape in their cars in the area of Edgewood Lane.


Update - November 9, 11:35 a.m.: The Camp Fire has destroyed approximately 2,000 structures so far with five percent. For comparison’s sake, the Carr Fire destroyed 1,604 and the Nun Fire 1,355.

According to San Francisco Chronicle reporter Lizzie Johnson, “This is one of the most destructive blazes in state history.”


Update - November 9, 10:40 a.m.: Military police will arrive in Northern California to help evacuate people from the blaze.

As of Friday morning, the air in the Bay Area is being described by local meteorologists as five times worse than Beijing.


Update - November 9, 9:15 a.m.: As of Friday morning, the Butte Fire has grown to 70,000 acres.

“The severity of this fire is without compare,” warns California Highway Patrol. “Please listen to evacuation orders and leave immediately when notified!”

Evacuations have been called for the following areas:

  • East of Bruce Road between Highway 32 to East 20th Street in Chico.
  • Canyon Oaks Subdivision (beyond the gate) in Chico.
  • Upper Magalia, which includes Humbug, Lovelock, Powellton, Stirling, and North Coutelenc.
  • Town of Pulga.
  • Butte College.
  • Town of Paradise.
  • Magalia, Concow, Centerville and Butte Creek Canyon areas.
  • Area of Nelson Shippee Road.
  • Highway 32 at Nople Avenue down to the Chico City Limits.
  • Cherokee from Highway 70 to the lake south to Table Mountain BoulevardOro Chico Highway from Durham Dayton north to Estates Drive.
  • Butte County has issued evacuation orders for the following zones: Nimshew Zone, Lower Clark Zone, Lower Skyway Zone, Lower Neal Zone, Upper Honey Run Zone, Carnegie Zone, North Pines Zone, North Fir Haven Zone, South Fir Haven Zone, South Pine Zone, Old Magalia Zone, and South Coutelenc Zone.
  • Clark Road and Pentz Road south to Highway 70, west to 99 and south to 149.
  • Area of Highway 70 from Pulga down to the West Branch Bridge on both sides of road including Yankee Hill.
Medical personnel evacuate patients as the Feather River Hospital burns while the Camp Fire rages through Paradise.
Photo by AP Photo/Noah Berger

Update - November 8, 10:15 p.m.: The fire is estimated around 20,000 acres with no containment.

“Pretty much the community of Paradise is destroyed, it’s that kind of devastation,” Cal Fire Capt. Scott McLean said Thursday evening, according KCRA. “The wind that was predicted came and just wiped it out.”

Tens of thousands of residents have evacuated the area, with some people holding babies and pets as they abandoned cars and escaped from the flames on foot.

According to SFGate, “The extent of the injuries and specific damage count was not immediately known as officials could not access the dangerous area.”


Update - November 8, 3 p.m.: Acting Gov. Gavin Newsom declares state of emergency in Butte County. The fire has now grown to approximately 18,000 acres. Over 20,000 people are being evacuated.

Smoke from the Camp Fire has spread across Northern California and into the Bay Area. Expect to see and smell it for the next couple of days.


Cal Fire reports that the Camp Fire in Butte County, roughly 160 miles northwest of San Francisco, that started at around 6:30 a.m. Thursday has grown to a size of at least 8,000 acres and promoted evacuations of thousands of residents of nearby Paradise, Magalia, Concow, Butte Creek Canyon, and Butte Valley.

The Butte County Sheriff’s Department reports that the main Butte County website is non-functional and to defer to the sheriff’s Twitter account for updates. Mandatory evacuation order are in effect for the following areas:

  • “The area of Highway 70 from Concow South, including all of Yankee Hill on both sides of 70.”
  • “The area of Pentz and 70 South to 149, including Butte College.”
  • Butte Creek, Centervill, Pulga, Paradise, and Concow.
  • “The South Pine Zone, Old Magalia Zone, and South Coutelenc Zone.”
  • “Carnegie Zone, North Pines Zone, North Fir Haven Zone and South Fir Haven Zone.”

Paradise alone has a population of over 26,000 people. Video footage posted to social media shows gridlock and panic on nearby highways and flames racing through city streets.

fire in butte county rages Photo by AP Photo/Noah Berger

Evacuation centers can be found at:

  • Butte County Fairgrounds (199 E Hazel Street, Gridley)
  • The Neighborhood Church (2801 Notre Dame Boulevard, Chico)
  • Oroville Nazarene Church (2238 Monte Vista Avenue, Oroville)

Evacuation orders are mandatory. If you live anywhere within those areas, leave your home immediately and report to the nearest evacuation center, even if you do not believe your home to be in danger right now.

Here are some scenes of the fire in progress: