An initial report from an ongoing field damage inspection in fire-ravaged Paradise, California, shows nearly all of the homes have been destroyed in an area surveyed.
As the Camp Fire roared through the Northern California town last week, people barely had enough time to escape much less take any of their belongings.
Officials say at least 48 people died in what’s now the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history. Nearly a week later, more than 100 people remain missing.
More than 5,600 firefighters are working to contain the blaze, while teams have been deployed to survey some of the worst-hit areas.
Longtime fire official has never seen such destruction
Some 60 teams are out inspecting damage in Paradise and in nearby Concow and Magalia, also in Butte County. They’ve completed surveys for about 10% of the area, but the reports so far are chilling.
“I’ve never been to an incident with this much destruction and the complexity that’s tied to it,” says 30-year veteran Dave Russell of Cal Fire, the state’s forestry and fire protection agency.
An interactive map from Cal Fire shows the extent of damage in Paradise and surrounding areas.
Satellite images reveal houses in a green, tree-filled landscape – until the interactive map loads.
Red houses, indicating structures that were deemed more than 50% destroyed, fill an area on the map.
According to the latest incident report from Cal Fire, the Camp Fire has damaged an estimated 7,600 residences.
In some neighborhoods, all but a few houses were completely destroyed.
The fire burned so hot, and so close, to one house that its siding melted off, yet green vegetation is visible in some places of the yard.
Another house in Paradise looks almost completely normal – except out front the remains of a burnt car sits in the driveway.
Evacuees can check on houses via map
The Cal Fire map gets updated as more reports come in, allowing evacuees a chance to see how their property fared.
In addition to the agency’s damage inspection assessment, the map includes photos of properties. Every single house indicator on the map has an accompanying photo.
These photos give residents and their families visual confirmation of the damage to their properties.