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Camp Fire Finally Contained as California Comes to Terms with Deadliest Wildfire in History

27th November 2018
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I t was a relief to read that California's deadliest wildfire on record has finally been contained. After 17 days, firefighters have officially harnessed the Camp Fire in Butte County.

The fire - the worst in living memory - claimed the lives of 85 people. No further remains have been found but the number of missing has increased from 249 to 296, officials from Butte County told reporters. The Camp Fire destroyed almost 14,000 homes across a total of more than 154,000 acres. Within days of the inferno igniting on November 8, the monster blaze had eclipsed state records.

Firefighters said heavy rain in northern California had slowed its spread and gave firefighters an advantage on its containment. This time last week, crews estimated that the fire would not be contained until November 30 by the earliest. But the rain gave crews an edge and they were able to contain it sooner than expected.

Officials say work will now continue smothering smouldering roots and stumps, which can continue burning internally. Firefighters will break the stumps open and extinguish any heat using a combination of soil and water, they said. Crews will then continue working their way inward - a process that, officials say, could take "several months".

I t's good news for survivors who must now come to terms with a tragedy that will long outlive the flames.

Meanwhile, experts in Colorado - where the fire season is now 74 days longer than it was in 1970 - are drawing up plans to create fire-resilient landscapes, fire-adapted communities and ways to provide safe, effective responses to wildfires.

Prevention is a crucial part of that strategy, according to the local Fire Chief in Eagle County. He said a progressive fire plan could also include a requirement for fire-resistant construction and landscaping, reports Vail Daily. The plan will also include ways of rebuilding the town's economy if natural disaster strikes, most likely by aiding local businesses to remain open or re-open as quickly as possible.

The plans will be presented to the Town Council in the spring of 2019. In the meantime, residents are being warned to remove dried leaves, pine needles and other debris around their homes. The Camp Fire that devastated Paradise in California sent embers travelling for miles. These were the cause of most structural losses.