29 Lives Lost in Deadly California Fire

Margot Edinger, Reporter

A state of emergency was issued in Butte County on Thursday by acting California Gov. Gavin Newsom in response to the fast-moving and destructive “Camp Fire.” 29 lives have been lost by the wildfire, matching the death toll of Griffith Park Fire of 1933 for the deadliest California fire in history.

Residents of the wooded town of Paradise, California, an area included in the state of emergency, evacuated frantically upon receiving the order. However, as a result of the surge of thousands of people fleeing, traffic slowed to a standstill. Roads filled with cars that had stalled out or run out of fuel. Victims continued on foot after abandoning their cars as fires blazed in the trees on either ride of the road. Eric Reinbold, Paradise police chief, reported that the terrain and traffic played a role in several deaths. In a neighborhood of Paradise with hilly terrain, four people were found dead in their cars.


According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire, the Camp Fire has burned over 6,000 homes and tore through at least 111,000 acres of land, making it one of the most destructive fires in state history. Cal Fire reports that the fire is 25% contained.