Tiny California Town Leveled By “Massive Wall Of Fire”; 10 Dead, 16 Missing, Trapped Fire Crew Barely Escapes Blaze
In a scene that brought back nightmares of the Camp Fire two years ago, the tiny town of Berry Creek was demolished by the North Complex Fire near Oroville in Northern California.
“We had a massive wall of fire that came in and did it everything it could to destroy everything in its path and unfortunately, there were some communities right in the way, just like what happened in Paradise and Concow during the Camp Fire,” Cal Fire spokesman Rick Carhart said Thursday.
Others were not so lucky. According to multiple local reports, the Butte County Sheriff indicated that 10 people have died at 16 are still missing. Thusfar the blaze has blackened 247,358 acres. It is being fought by over 1600 fire personnel.
According to Cal Fire, an eight-mile long flank of the blaze, previously known as the Bear Fire, swept across the hilly terrain and engulfed the towns of Berry Creek, Feather Falls and others. Firefighters spent Tuesday into Wednesday not so much fighting the inferno as engaging in lifesaving and evacuation operations.
Firefighters rescued over 100 residents but even as they did, a Cal Fire hand crew was overrun while battling the blaze. According to the agency, unpredictable winds and “extremely erratic” fire behavior trapped the crew. The fire captain in charge was eventually able to extricate his crew from the situation with only two minor injuries.
Photos from the town of Berry Creek show trees scorched and home after home burnt to the foundation.
“I’ve only seen three homes left standing,” Sacramento Bee photographer Jason Pierce told the paper on Wednesday. “Dozens of houses and businesses are destroyed. Every house is just dust.”
A local reporter for the Chico Enterprise-Record named Carin Dorghalli said, “The town is leveled. A firefighter said they rescued a hundred people from the Bear Fire, including burn victims.”
The only store in town, the Village Market, was burnt to the ground.
California is currently facing three of the four biggest fires in its recorded history. While the North Complex Fire described above is the 10th-largest fire ever recorded in the state, the August Complex, the SCU Complex fires and the LNU Complex fires are numbers 1,3 and 4 of all-time — and still burning. Collectively they have killed 7 people, destroyed over 1,700 structures and scorched more than a million acres of forest.
Source: Read Full Article