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Evacuations finally lifted in California’s worst fire

Five weeks after beginning of Camp Fire, Paradise residents who still have homes return

Paradise, California Continues Recovery Efforts From The Devastating Camp Fire Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

On Saturday, the Butte County Sheriff’s Office announced that “all remaining evacuation orders for the town of Paradise [...] and unincorporated areas of Butte County will be lifted.”

Many Paradise residents and those in surrounding communities have been shut out of their homes since November 8, when the Camp Fire sparked to life and grew to monstrous proportions in mere hours.

Cal Fire announced that the devastating wildfire—which has killed more people and destroyed more homes than any other fire on record in the state—was finally fully contained on November 23. And yet still many residents remained in limbo for almost a month afterward.

With more than 15,000 structures destroyed at the latest count, many residents are returning only to attempt to salvage surviving possessions from otherwise destroyed properties.

Images posted to social media over the weekend reveal the fickleness of the blaze—entire homes reduced to rubble, but sometimes with backyards and gardens that appear nearly untouched, with surviving plants still flourishing.

The Camp Fire Structure Status Map reveals the wholesale destruction of entire neighborhoods, but also those lucky few whose homes were spared, often surrounded by devastation all sides.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, three people still remain missing in the wake of the fire: Wendy Krug (46), John Demianew (54), and Sara Fabila-Martinez (50), all residents of Paradise.

If anyone knows the whereabouts of any missing person, call the Mission Persons Task Force at 530-538-6570, 530-538-7544, or 530-538-7671.