California Wildfires Kill 11 People Trapped In Vehicles And Homes

“Drought-stricken fuels, Santa Ana wind conditions, low relative humidity, high temperatures: It’s a recipe for fire.”

Devastating wildfires scorching large sections of California have killed at least 11 people, including some who were trapped in their vehicles, authorities said Saturday.

Five of the bodies were found Thursday in Paradise, where 27,000 people have been evacuated and thousands of structures have been destroyed

“The preliminary investigation revealed that the victims were located in vehicles that were overcome by the Camp Fire,” the Butte County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. “Due to the burn injuries, identification could not be immediately made.”

Three other bodies were found outside homes and one inside a home on Saturday morning. And the bodies of two more victims were discovered later Saturday.

Drought and wind conditions have given California a perfect “recipe for fire,” said Chad Cook, the Ventura County Fire Department assistant chief.

“The first part of this fuel bed had not seen fire for many years,” Cook said Thursday. “Drought-stricken fuels, Santa Ana wind conditions, low relative humidity, high temperatures: It’s a recipe for fire.”

In a Facebook video posted by Paradise resident Brynn Parrott Chatfield on Thursday, two people in a car drive through the inferno, narrowly escaping.

“I feel very vulnerable posting this but I feel I should,” Chatfield wrote on Facebook. “My hometown of Paradise is on fire. My family is evacuated and safe. Not all my friends are safe. It’s very surreal. Things always work out, but the unknown is a little scary.”

Authorities are encouraging residents to check the website SafeAndWell.org to locate loved ones who have not been heard from, or to call (530) 538-7322 to request a welfare check.