According to a report from Slavic Sacramento, a city which just two weeks ago was going quietly and peacefully about its business has been completely destroyed. About 90 percent of the homes in Paradise have been damaged by fire, most of them having been completely burned to the ground. Only 20 percent of the city’s business district remains, an area that relied on tourism and selling souvenirs reminiscent of the Gold Rush era.
The California city of Paradise is currently cordoned off by police, and military Hummers have been seen in the municipality. The California National Guard has also come to the area. All local residents have been forced to evacuate.
As of Friday, according to statements from local authorities, 560 people were counted as missing, and 84 have been found dead. In the coming days and weeks, that number will undoubtedly increase. The sheriff’s office and coroner continue to search for victims of the disaster. There are over 500 people unaccounted for.
Many abandoned cars are sitting in the middle of roads and streets. It is evident that people fled the city without looking back. Because of huge traffic jams, dozens of residents were unable to escape the burning city. Their lifeless bodies were found inside their cars. They either died from smoke inhalation or were burned alive.
President Trump criticized firefighters and the park service for allegedly not working hard enough to protect the forests, and he threatened to not allocate federal funds to help pay for damage from the disasters. According to firefighters, however, Trump went too far. Soon-to-be-retired California governor Jerry Brown disagreed with the president, saying that the ubiquitous fires around the state have reached historical proportions, and the constant fires are a result of climate change, so no one is to blame.
Both points of view are, in fact, understandable. Trump’s perspective is backed by the opinion of many of the state’s residents, who say that energy companies are negligent when it comes to their infrastructure, investing practically nothing in development and constantly raising utility rates. As for Jerry Brown, he has his own interests in the energy sector; there are those who criticize the outgoing governor for his allegedly close relationships with the shareholders of energy giants, despite Brown’s attempts to present himself as a champion of the environment.
For example, Brown’s sister Kathleen works for Sempra, which many suspect is guilty of a recent massive methane leak in the area of Porter Ranch in southern California. As a result, about 200,000 families were forced to evacuate. A real point of contention is the fact that the governor’s sister is a member of the board’s Environmental, Health, Safety, and Technology Committee. She is also a partner of a law firm that lobbies for the interests of a large fracking company. In addition, Kathleen owns shares of the oil and gas company Forestar Group.
The governor recently signed a law that requires California to completely convert to clean production of electricity by 2045.
At the beginning of September of this year, Brown signed a bill that reduces the liability of PG&E for damages from fires in 2017. Previously, inspectors found PG&E responsible for at least a dozen fires in Northern California, including Tubbs fire in Santa Rosa. About 20,000 homes and 3,000 businesses were destroyed, and approximately 800 lawsuits were filed against the company for negligence. The gas and electric company is on the verge of bankruptcy.
Restoration work is already underway in the disaster area, and the lives of the victims of the fire will soon return to normal. There is a large number of law enforcement and military in the area, who have likely been assigned to various strategic positions in order to control the situation and prevent unrest. The Butte County Sheriff stated that local residents have reported seeing looters, and there are some arrests have been made.