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If California's Camp Fire Winds Down, Rain and Winds Create New Fears: NPR

The Camp Fire started on Nov. 8 near the city of Paradise and quickly overwhelmed the area. The city is…

The Camp Fire started on Nov. 8 near the city of Paradise and quickly overwhelmed the area. The city is still closed to the public, and more than 600 people are still missing in the region.



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The Camp Fire started on Nov. 8 near the city of Paradise and quickly overwhelmed the area. The city is still closed to the public, and more than 600 people remain missing in the region.

Bobby Allyn / NPR

In Northern California, search crews continued to sift through the burned city of Paradise more than two weeks after the eruption of the fire, which has claimed the lives of 84 people and charred a land area larger than the city of Chicago. 19659008] Searchers say they will need several more days to sift through the more than 20,000 structures that the Camp Fire engulfed in this working-class community in the Sierra Nevada foothills.

Driving around Paradise is a bleak and haunting scene, made even more ugly with dark clouds and rain falling.

The shells of scorched cars dot thousands of one-time homes now reduced to ash. Interspersed in the apocalyptic scene are buildings and objects spared by the flames: a community theater unscathed, a lone rocking chair, a statue of a bear holding a “Welcome to Paradise” sign in front of the detritus of an inferno. The air remains smokey, and the city of Paradise is still closed to the public.

The most deadly and destructive four in California history is almost completely out, just as the search operation winds down.

But the final phase of the search is confronting a storm moving through the area, creating additional challenges for emergency teams.

With heavy showers and strong winds in the forecast, officials are watching for possible mud and debris slides along the incinerated hillsides. De er i høj grad opmærksomme på muligheden for en massiv mængde af ash-overblivne strukturer, der blander med regnen til at danne et giftigt slus som kunne løbe ned i lokale vandveje.

“Tænk på alt du har i din egen hus , all the cleaning materials. If you’re someone who messes with cars, you’ve got your greases, your gasoline, your solvents. All of that stuff is now mixed together into a hazardous soup, “said Brian Vidosh, safety officer for the recovery mission, who recently debriefed crew members at a fire’s central command post in Chico, Calif. “Hopefully the most foundations are keeping it contained.”

Emergency crews debrief ahead of Friday’s four search mission from the Camp Fire command post in Chico, Calif. Crews were warned about mud and debris slides along destroyed area.



Bobby Allyn / NPR


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Bobby Allyn / NPR

Emergency crews debrief ahead of Friday’s four search mission from the Camp Fire command post in Chico, Calif. Crews were warned about mud and debris slides along destroyed area.

Bobby Allyn / NPR

Vidosh has instructed searchers to stay away from parts of Paradise alongside steep slopes as the rain and winds persist.

Aviva Braun, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, who has been assisting Paradise search teams, said in some of those heavily wooded areas, nowadays from the flames are hanging on by a thread.

“And the stronger winds can actually knock it down, so these danger trees that are already weakened with the rain, with the wind they can really cause problems for people who are standing underneath them,” Braun said. “Which is why we are emphasizing

At the current pace, officials on Friday estimated that the search should be completed by Tuesday, as teams of investigators reach into the last areas of the 240-square-mile landscape that the fire torched.

Yet with more than 600 people still on the missing list, Vidosh said officials in Butte County will soon have to make some difficult decisions.

He said cadaver dogs have been crossing the area impacted by the wildfire to help Find human remains, though he said there is virtually no chance of finding a trace of every fire victim.

“What we’re looking for at this point are end stages of cremation. some point, there are people who are just going to be missing, “Vidosh said.

Crews in the final phase of the search for missing residents around Paradise, Calif., are facing landslide concerns as heavy rain and winds move in. Ash from all of the burned structures could form a toxic slush with the rain.



Bobby Allyn / NPR


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Bobby Allyn / NPR

Crews in the final phase of the search for missing residents around Paradise, Calif., Are facing landslide concerns as heavy rain and winds move in. Ash from all of the burned structures could form a toxic slush with the rain.

Bobby Allyn / NPR

For days, officials have cautioned about potential mudslides, and none have been reported so far. That said, with around 2 inches of rain set to fall on Friday and additional downpours expected over the weekend, the barren hills may soon become overwhelmed, unable to absorb water and instead become a propelling surface for water to carry mud, burnt trees and other debris left in the wake of the blaze.

“We call it moonscaped. The way the fire came through, there’s nothing on the hillside left.” Fortunately, now, the saturation has not occurred. “So Vidosh, noting that there is only

“To me, it’s not if. It’s when,” he said.

Meanwhile, long-term housing for the thousands displaced by the Camp Fire is still being sorted out by emergency officials.

Representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency say 15,000 households around Paradise have registered for assistance. And FEMA has delivered more than $ 9 million for evacuees to stay in hotels and apartments up to a month as they figure out what’s next.

The fire started on Nov. 8 in a mountainous region close to the city of Paradise and quickly overwhelmed the woodsy area north of Sacramento.

Officials have not determined or speculated about what may have ignited the fire.

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