63 Dead, 631 Missing in Deadliest, Most Destructive Fire in California History
The death toll from the catastrophic Camp Fire—by far the deadliest and most destructive fire in California history—has now risen to 63, with 631 people still unaccounted for, the Huffington Post reported Friday.
The Butte County Sheriff's Office announced on Thursday that the death toll had risen from Wednesday's figure of 56 after the remains of seven more people were discovered in the wreckage.
Press Release #ButteSheriff #CampFire https://t.co/5lhfQgSN2F— Butte County Sheriff (@Butte County Sheriff)1542345435.0
The number of missing made a big jump from the 130 people officials said were unaccounted for on Wednesday. Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea told reporters at a news briefing that the increase was a result of officials looking tirelessly through reports after Wednesday's announcement, and many of the missing could be safely in shelters.
"The reason that that number went up is because after they went up, [emergency officials] didn't stop working, they continued to work into the night," Honea told reporters, according to The Huffington Post. "I'm fine with that update, because I would rather get that information out than wait too much longer to do that."
Honea told people to check the list of those reported missing to make sure they aren't on it.
"I want you to understand that there are a lot of people displaced and there are a lot of people who don't know we're looking for them," Honea said.
The Camp Fire has burned more than 11,800 structures so far, including 9,700 homes. The destruction has displaced more than 52,000 people in an area already facing a housing shortage, The Sacramento Bee reported.
Here is the @ParadisePost, the newspaper we can’t deliver, so we are dropping bundles off at evacuation centers.… https://t.co/5bTPnogFVF— David Little (@David Little)1542325957.0
Local officials told The Sacramento Bee that the fire could force migration comparable to what happened during the Dust Bowl during the 1930s, though on a smaller scale.
When asked if Butte County faced a humanitarian crisis, the executive director of the county's housing office Ed Mayer said, "We're on the edge."
Mayer said that 6,000 to 7,000 households were likely to be permanently displaced by the fire. The county has the means to rehouse only 800 to 1,000 households permanently, and officials are overwhelmed when it comes to short-term options.
"We could make the choice to put them in temporary (shelters) to try to absorb those households for three to five years, meaning refugee camps and trying to keep our community together. That's one choice," Mayer said. "The other choice is we say, 'We can't do it, we don't have the ability (to find shelters) and go fend for yourselves.'"
Conditions in the temporary shelters that do exist also aren't entirely healthy. A norovirus outbreak has sickened 141 people at four Butte County shelters, the county announced Thursday.
News Release: Norovirus/Gastrointestinal Illness in Butte County Shelters https://t.co/GXbVLb0n0S https://t.co/xjvOjf2pJU— Butte County, CA (@Butte County, CA)1542315179.0
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said it did not yet have a plan to house the survivors of the fire, but the fact that President Donald Trump signed a major emergency declaration for the fire Monday means that federal funds can now flow towards recovery efforts.
"We don't have a housing plan right this second," FEMA spokeswoman Brandi Richard said Tuesday, according to The Sacramento Bee. "That's something the state and local officials and FEMA teams are working on."
The fire has now burned 141,000 acres and is 40 percent contained, according to the most recent Cal Fire update.
#CampFire [update] Pulga Road at Camp Creek Road near Jarbo Gap (Butte County) is now 141,000 acres and 40% contain… https://t.co/xvVz5R7nKn— CAL FIRE (@CAL FIRE)1542338941.0
The dry, windy conditions that fanned the flames are expected to persist, though National Weather Service meteorologist Aviva Braun said there could be rain by the end of next week, the Huffington Post reported.
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A "trash tsunami" has washed ashore on the beaches of Honduras, endangering both wildlife and the local economy.
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More long-finned pilot whales were found stranded today on beaches in Tasmania, Australia. About 500 whales have become stranded, including at least 380 that have died, the AP reported. It is the largest mass stranding in Australia's recorded history.
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By Harry Kretchmer
By 2030, almost a third of all the energy consumed in the European Union must come from renewable sources, according to binding targets agreed in 2018. Sweden is helping lead the way.
Sweden is a world leader in renewable energy consumption. Swedish Institute/World Bank
Naturally Warm<p>54% of Sweden's power comes from renewables, and is helped by its geography. With plenty of moving water and 63% forest cover, it's no surprise the <a href="https://sweden.se/nature/energy-use-in-sweden/#" target="_blank">two largest renewable power sources</a> are hydropower and biomass. And that biomass is helping support a local energy boom.</p><p>Heating is a key use of energy in a cold country like Sweden. In recent decades, as fuel oil taxes have increased, the country's power companies have turned to renewables, like biomass, to fuel local 'district heating' plants.</p><p>In Sweden these trace their <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140#fig3" target="_blank">origins back to 1948</a>, when a power station's excess heat was first used to heat nearby buildings: steam is <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/engineering/district-heating-system" target="_blank">forced along a network of pipes</a> to wherever it's needed. Today, there are around 500 district heating systems across the country, from major cities to small villages, providing heat to homes and businesses.</p><p>District heating used to be fueled mainly from the <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140" target="_blank">by-products of power plants</a>, waste-to-energy plants and industrial processes. These days, however, Sweden is bringing more renewable sources into the mix. And as a result of competition, this localized form of power is now the country's<a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140#fig3" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> home-heating market leader.</a></p>
Sweden is using smart grids to turn buildings into energy producers. Huang et al/Elsevier
Energy ‘Prosumers’<p>But Sweden doesn't stop at village-level heating solutions. Its new breed of energy-generation takes hyper-local to the next level.</p><p>One example is in the city of Ludivika where 1970s flats <a href="https://www.buildup.eu/sites/default/files/content/transforming-a-residential-building-cluster-into-electricity-prosumers-in-sweden.pdf" target="_blank">have recently been retrofitted with the latest smart energy technology</a>.</p><p>48 family apartments spread across 3 buildings have been given photovoltaic solar panels, thermal energy storage and heat pump systems. A micro energy grid connects it all, and helps charge electric cars overnight.</p><p>The result is a cluster of 'prosumer' buildings, producing rather than consuming enough power for 77% of residents' needs. With <a href="http://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:1232060/FULLTEXT01.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">high levels of smart meter usage</a>, it's a model that looks set to spread across Sweden.</p>
<div id="d7bf9" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="8757b138d5570bec9d6aad18074a429a"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1273556364263071744" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Read more about Western Harbour and book a visit: https://t.co/ujSmVs9rNK 🏡🌳🌊 https://t.co/C5PuPziqIM</div> — Smart City Sweden (@Smart City Sweden)<a href="https://twitter.com/SmartCitySweden/statuses/1273556364263071744">1592474473.0</a></blockquote></div>
Scaling Up<p>A recent development by E.ON in Hyllie, a district on the outskirts of Malmö, southern Sweden, <a href="https://www.eonenergy.com/blog/2019/February/sweden-smart-city" target="_blank">has scaled up the smart grid principle</a>. Energy generation comes from local wind, solar, biomass and waste sources.</p><p>Smart grids then balance the power, react to the weather, deploying extra power when it's colder or putting excess into battery storage when it's warm. The system is not only more efficient, but bills have fallen.</p><p>Smart energy developments like those in Hyllie, Ludivika, and renewable-driven district heating, offer a radical alternative to the centralized energy systems many countries rely on today.</p><p>The EU's leaders have a challenge: how to generate 32% of energy from renewables by 2030. Sweden offers a vision of how technology and local solutions can turn a goal into a reality.</p>
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By Jessica Corbett
In another win for climate campaigners, leaders of 12 major cities around the world — collectively home to about 36 million people — committed Tuesday to divesting from fossil fuel companies and investing in a green, just recovery from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
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