Rainstorm ends California wildfires, but threatens to cause flash flooding
23 November 2018
A statewide rainstorm which began Tuesday night has brought an end to the wildfire season in California and almost fully extinguished the Camp Fire, the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in state history.
The rainstorm comes as a mixed blessing, as it both ends the wildfires and air pollution plaguing the state, while preparing the conditions for debris flows that could compound the dire situation facing homeless evacuees. Further, the rain will make it far more difficult to find the remains of those that died in the Camp Fire and will likely cause significant environmental damage throughout the region.
The most recent press release Thursday morning listed the Camp Fire at 153,336 acres and 90 percent contained. It noted: “Precipitation has minimized fire activity and all fire lines continue to hold.” As of this writing, there have been 83 confirmed deaths, while 563 people are still listed as missing, a number that is constantly changing due to the haphazard character of the evacuation. Over 18,000 buildings were destroyed by the fire, including 13,631 single residence buildings.
As of Thursday, dozens of evacuees remain camped in tents outside the Chico Walmart, where they have faced near-freezing temperatures at night and are now at risk of flooding from the rains. Hundreds more remain at evacuation centers across Butte County, where an outbreak of the non-fatal norovirus has infected at least 145 people and hospitalized dozens.
Also on Thursday, an estimated 15,000 evacuees were served Thanksgiving dinner by more than 50 volunteers, mostly at Chico State University.
In the aftermath of the Camp Fire, conditions in Paradise and across Butte County are ripe…