California wildfires reach grim milestone as officials search for cause

World Today

California wildfires reach grim milestone as officials search for causeA member of the Sacramento County Coroner’s office looks for human remains in the rubble of a house burned at the Camp Fire, Monday, Nov. 12, 2018, in Paradise, Calif. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Wildfires are still burning up and down the state of California five days after they first began.

CGTN’s May Lee reports.

The death toll is rising, especially in the northern part of the state where at least 29 people have died and more than 200 people are still missing. This is now the most fatal and destructive wildfire in California history.

Fire crews from throughout California and several other states are working round the clock to get the worst wildfires in the state’s history under control.

In Thousand Oaks, in Southern California, fires swept through leaving behind random trails of destruction.

Mike Graham barely got out of his house in time. He thought all would be lost.

Miraculously, his house sustained no other damage, even though everything around it, including his truck, was consumed by the fire.

“I said Oh my God…by the grace of God my house is still standing,” Graham said.

Just next door, a home was burned to the ground. The owner says he and his father had no warning and managed to escape with just minutes to spare.


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For business owners like Joshua Juarez, Monday was the first full day of business since forced evacuations four days ago, which came on the heels of the mass shooting at the Borderline Bar and Grill late Wednesday night that left 12 people and the gunman dead.

“It felt like hell was raining on us unfortunately, but we are a very tight knit community and everyone came out in support,” Juarez said.

Local fire crews, too, had to cope with the double tragedies.

“Our department has gone through a lot too. Especially for some of the guys that were on the mass shooting the very first day, on that same day right onto this so we got some fatigue too,” Raul Garcia, Captain of the Ventura County Fire Department said. 

Evacuation orders for part of Thousand Oaks as well as a few other communities are slowly being lifted and that’s allowed the displaced to go back home, but for some they’ll come back to very little or nothing at all…something that California’s governor and many other officials warn will become the new “abnormal”.

Farrah Ginter on California wildfires

CGTN’s Mike Walter spoke to Farrah Ginter about the California wildfires. She is one of the thousands of southern California residents affected by the wildfires.

California nurse recalls harrowing evacuation from wildfire

Emergency services personnel across California are dealing with the wildfires on two fronts: personal and professional. CGTN’s Asieh Namdar spoke with Nichole Jolly, a nurse in Northern California, who – after helping evacuate patients from the hospital where she works – struggled to escape the blaze.