The death toll rose to 25 on Sunday morning in one of the deadliest wildfires in the history of the state of California.
More than 6,700 homes, businesses and community institutions were burned down as the entire town of Paradise, CA was destroyed – more structures than in any other fire on record in the state, in a blaze called the “Camp Fire.”
On November 8, 2018, the Camp Fire erupted 90 miles (140 kilometers) north of Sacramento, California. The fire started around 6:30 a.m. Pacific Standard Time, and by 8:00 p.m., it had burned 20,000 acres of land.
As of 10 a.m. Pacific Standard Time on November 9, the fire had consumed 70,000 acres of land and was only five percent contained, or surrounded by a barrier.
NASA’s Operational Land Imager on Landsat 8 acquired the image displayed above on November 8, 2018, around 10:45 a.m. local time (18:45 Universal Time). It was created using Landsat bands 4-3-2 (visible light), along with shortwave-infrared light to highlight the active fire.
David Halimi, co-president of Congregation Beth Israel in the nearby northern California town of Chico, told the Jewish News of Northern California on Friday that some members of his congregation have already been affected by the wildfires.
“They are staying with others,” he said. “The synagogue itself is not in danger.” Likewise, Halimi said the small Jewish community in his town stands ready to help its neighbors. “Everybody is doing their best and hoping for the best,” he said.
“There’s a great deal of support community-wise for all those affected by the fire, whether Jews or not.”
The wildfires have spread southward as well. In Los Angeles County and in the town of Malibu, numerous Hollywood stars were also forced to flee their homes.
Among the structures damaged in the area was the Malibu Shalom Institute, a nonsectarian educational center serving some 25,000 Jews from all streams of Judaism. According to the institute’s Facebook page, its “staff, animals and torahs (sic) were all safely evacuated.”
At least one of the fires in northern California was allegedly started by careless campers who inadequately extinguished their camp fire when they were ready to leave.
Another strong wind event threatens to fuel the firestorm all the way into Tuesday, according to Renee Duff, meteorologist for AccuWeather, “creating hazardous conditions for fire crews and putting additional lives and property at risk.”
A weather pattern similar to that which led to the rapid spread of the flames of the Camp and Woolsey fires has returned, with Santa Ana winds picking up in southern California.
“Residents will once again need to be on high alert for rapidly spreading wildfires that may require a quick evacuation of homes and businesses. Having an emergency bag on hand with important documents, medicine and other necessary items can save valuable time in the event that property must be evacuated in a matter of minutes.”
No wet weather is expected anywhere across the state throughout the week.