At least 44 people have lost their lives in the violent fires that affect California for several days. One of the fires, the “Camp Fire”, is already the most deadly in the history of California and recognizes him only 42 of the victims officially identified Monday. The balance sheet threatens to weigh down a little more, while many people remain missing. The soldiers of the fire, came from all over the country, are accompanied on the terrain of anthropologists, and a laboratory analysis of DNA to identify the body, sometimes reduced to mere fragments of bone. How do you explain this balance sheet, in a region yet accustomed to the fires of magnitude?

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adverse weather

wind Gusts and drought are fueling the drama. Winds from the north-east rose on Sunday in the north and the south of the State. Monday morning, the dangerous Santa Ana winds, hot and dry, coming from the inside of the land, were thus more than 50 km/h on the blaze Woolsey Fire which has already destroyed 37.000 hectares around Malibu, in the area west of Los Angeles. This “wind of the devil”, as was dubbed a member of the national weather Service College Park, Maryland, cited by Reuters, is in particular derived from air masses traversing the deserts of the western United States, including the valley of Death.

California : aerial views of the fight against the fire in Malibu – Watch on Figaro Live

The State of California, affected for several years by a historic drought, was also experiencing a lack of water recurrent. Thus, the “Camp Fire”, always content to only 25%, has ravaged 4 500 hectares in the county of Butte, an area where it has not rained more than an inch of water for more than thirty weeks. No drop of rain is not expected on the State by the end of the month.

progression is extremely fast cars fleeing the fire, Angoura Hills, Friday 9 November. Matthew Simmons/AFP

as a Result of these weather factors, the progression of these fires is extremely fast, much more than in the past. The surface of the Woolsey Fire” has doubled between Friday evening and Sunday. “There are ten or twenty years, you stay in your homes when there was a fire and you were able to protect them,” these houses, stated to the press the head of the fire-fighters of Ventura county, in the region of Malibu.

“things are not what they were. The rate of propagation is exponentially higher than what it was,” insisted the head of the fire department, before exhorting the people to comply with the instructions. “I beg you, heed evacuation orders. Do not stay at home.” Over 250,000 people have been ordered to evacuate their homes in a wide region near Sacramento, the capital of the State, and to Malibu and its surroundings. Several of the victims were trapped in their cars as they tried to flee.

The small town of Paradise violently affected

The town of Paradise is, by far, one of the towns most affected: it has been entirely swept away by the flames. The emergency services have been caught short by the speed of the progression of the fire to Paradise, while they were already fully mobilized to fight the fire, says the New York Times .

The terrible record of the “Camp Fire”, which has striped the town of the map, can also be explained in part by the typology of the inhabitants of the city. It displays a level of life well away from areas with luxurious properties endangered by the Moolsey Fire, most in southern California, says the New York Times . Many of them lived in mobile homes, gone up in smoke in a few minutes. A quarter of the population is also over the age of 65 years, with four of ten inhabitants living under the poverty line, according to statistics cited by the u.s. daily.

California : in the ghost town of Paradise, ravaged by the fire – Look on Figaro Live

Less able to flee, without a car for many, these poor residents who are trapped by the speed of progression of the flames. “We had less than an hour to escape,” explained one of them to the special envoy of Franceinfo on-site. “When we came down the hill, there were flames all around the car.”

The exact causes of outbreaks of fire have not yet been identified. In regards to the “Camp Fire” that wiped out the town of Paradise, according to the daily newspaper Sacramento Bee quoted by AFP, local officials of the electric grid have indicated to the authorities in california that a failure had occurred near the place where it started. For the past year, California has fires, which have, in total, almost 100 people dead, and burned hundreds of thousands of hectares.

The impressive images of a motorist in california which runs through the flames – Watching on Figaro Live