Camp Fire: 63 dead, 631 deemed missing



Camp Fire: 63 dead, 631 deemed missing; second point of origin for inferno explored

Death count matches 1989 Loma Prieta quake; inferno jeopardizes future of fire-ravaged towns in shadow of Paradise



1 of 21

A home destroyed in the Camp Fire is photographed in Magalia, Calif., on Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018. Magalia is one of the small towns struggling to pick up the pieces after the devastating wildland fire swept through. (Doug Duran/Bay Area News Group)


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MAGALIA — When the Camp Fire first tore through Butte County, John Pohmajevich stayed put in the small town of Magalia — a place he’s called home for several years now. He knew if he left, there would be no telling when he would be able to return.

On Thursday, the San Mateo native surveyed the devastating damage the fire’s left in its wake and recalled the last time he saw something like this: the Loma Prieta earthquake that shook the Bay Area in 1989.

“I thought (Loma Prieta) was bad, with the freeways crumbling,” Pohmajevich said. “But it was still not as bad as this.”

The Camp Fire has now killed 63 people to date, matching the number of fatalities in the Bay Area temblor, with 631 more still considered missing — 501 more than the figure given a day earlier. Sheriff Kory Honea said the figure spiked because authorities were constantly vetting both previous and incoming reports.

“They continued to work into the night and then ultimately they updated it,” Honea said. “I am fine with them updating that because I would rather get that information out than to wait too long to do that.”

Among the latest death toll were the remains of three people in Paradise, three in Magalia, and one in Concow. Honea said investigators have tentatively identified 53 fire victims.

Also Thursday, Cal Fire officials announced a possible second origin of the fire in the Concow area. The first point of origin was in Pulga. The California Highway Patrol also has removed 165 vehicles from the fire zone.

This weekend, President Donald Trump will view the devastation firsthand when he visits victims of the deadly Camp Fire, the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history. To date, the blaze has destroyed 9,700 homes and 11,862 structures overall.

When the fire began burning through Butte County last week — 141,000 acres and counting, with 40 percent containment — residents of of the 11,000-population Magalia and 700-resident Concow, two small towns in the shadows of Paradise, were left scrambling to escape. Now, as they grapple with grief and loss, some are contemplating whether to pick up the pieces and rebuild, or whether to move on.

“I think a lot of people aren’t going to want to come back. If this town recovers … if .. it’s going to take years and years and years,” Pohmajevich said. “This community was broke before the fire.”

He noted that towns like Magalia and Concow rely on cities like Paradise and Chico as an economic lifeline, and now one of them has virtually been taken off the map.

“The business was in Paradise,” Pohmajevich said.

Many people came to these two communities because they liked the peace and tranquility it offered. People “want to live in these areas because they like it,” said Congressman Doug LaMalfa, a Republican who represents Butte County and has been coordinating relief efforts with the federal government.

“The people are very resilient up there,” LaMalfa said, but acknowledged that “putting everything back together again is going to be a fairly long-term process.”

LaMalfa understands that some residents, by necessity or choice, won’t rebuild in places like Magalia and Concow.

But for residents who do return, LaMalfa wants the rebuilding process to result in better infrastructure — sewer rather than septic systems, underground PG&E lines. He also wants to see trees removed from along roadways and around towns and cities so emergency crews have more “defensible space” to rely on when fires erupt.

“I think many will want to try again,” LaMalfa said, especially if the infrastructure is better. “The support that’s poured in from all over the state and all over the country is pretty amazing. People feel pretty good that a lot of folks are on their side.”

Jesus “Zeus” Fernandez, one of the first Camp Fire fatalities to be publicly identified, lived in Concow and valued the sense of community life in one of the state’s more rugged areas offered.

But the landscape made the prospect of escaping a deadly inferno like the Camp Fire difficult.

“When the fire started that morning, the residents of the Concow area were hit first and seemingly hardest,” reads a GoFundMe fundraising page created in his honor. “Before Paradise, and with the least amount of warning. Many of his neighbors recall having only about 10 minutes to evacuate before driving through walls of flames and flying embers. Worst thing about Concow, is there’s only one way in and one way out. No fire warning system, virtually nonexistent cell service, and brutal terrain.”

Pohmajevich said the allure of the outer regions of Butte County lie in their serenity. He moved to the area after a career as a boat mechanic to support his elderly parents who retired to Magalia after spending their lives in the Bay Area.

“People move up here for the peace. You don’t have a lot of people. You don’t have traffic,” he said. “And there’s very good people up here.”

Michael Earhart, 75, another longtime Magalia resident who steadfastly refused to leave his home — in part to avoid being separated from his beloved parakeet Max —  isn’t going anywhere. He has kept on in part by visits from search-and-rescue and other emergency personnel dropping off water and food, though what he is currently fixated on is a propane refill.

“It’s a gorgeous place,” Earhart said.  “I don’t know where else I can go.”

Staff writer Jason Green contributed to this report.

Seeking missing people from the Camp Fire

Anyone seeking information about people missing in the wake of the Camp Fire, or want to report someone missing or accounted for, can view the latest list from the Butte County Sheriff’s Office at and call one of the following three hotlines: 530-538-6570, 530-538-7544, 530-538-7671.


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Two hikers die after falling from Taft Point in Yosemite National Park



Two hikers die after falling from Taft Point in Yosemite National Park

Officials at Yosemite National Park, California are investigating the deaths of a man and a woman who fell from a popular overlook that allows visitors to walk to the cliff’s edge, where there is no railing, an official said. (Oct. 26) AP


Two visitors have died in Yosemite National Park after falling from an overlook, the National Parks Service said in a statement Thursday.

Park rangers were trying to recover the bodies of the man and woman who fell from Taft Point, a popular overlook at an elevation of 7,500 feet, as of 2 p.m. ET. The deaths are being investigated, but no other information is available yet, including the identities of the visitors, the statement said. Yosemite is located in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains.

This is not the first time this year visitors have faced danger in Yosemite. Tomer Frankfurter, an Israeli teenager, fell to his death from Nevada Fall last month. Two hikers died in June while climbing El Capitan, and another died while climbing Half Dome in May.

5 Best places to visit in September in India



Best places to visit in September in India, here are 5 spots that you can’t afford to miss

Travellers, keep in mind that September is one of the best months to take a trip across India. Here are 5 spots that are perfect options for you.

TRAVEL Updated: Sep 09, 2018 12:52 IST

Asian News International
Best destinations for travel,Travel,Jaipur
Best travel destinations for September include Manali, Leh, Diu, Ziro and Jaipur. (Shutterstock)

September is probably one of the best months to travel almost anywhere in India. The weather is pleasant with the monsoon slowly starting to subside by the end of August, and there is cool weather needed for leisurely travel.

Be it the mountains up north, the south, or even the deserts of Rajasthan, this month is a better time to visit tourist spots rather than going during the travel boom at the end of the year. Here are some recommendations for you from Confirmtkt and Travelyaari:

* Jaipur

Jaipur is a city in Rajasthan is a good place to visit for a fam jam where you can savour the local culture. There is chaotic traffic but also lots to shop, street food to enjoy and you can top off your stay at one of the numerous palace hotels in the region.

* Manali

The romantic city is surrounded by mountains and is a good place to travel to this September. It is a honeymoon destination, trekking paradise, a hippie hangout and even a quick getaway from your work commitments.

* Ziro

Honestly, anytime would be perfect if you are planning to visit this place among the hills. September is when you can glimpse the essence of the place and there is only mild rainfall. The remote hillock town offers a handful of activities, one of them being the acclaimed Ziro music festival which is a must-attend.

Go on a biking trip to Ladakh. (Unsplash)

* Leh: A trip to Leh by road is one of its kind and makes for a memorable experience. There are many surprises along the way.

* Diu

Diu is a small beach city in the union territory of Diu and Daman. It is a serene destination which is recommended as the best alternative to Goa. It boasts of cheap liquor, beachside shacks, and seafood. You can also indulge in sightseeing at the lesser-known Portuguese colony.

Follow @htlifeandstyle for more

First Published: Sep 09, 2018 11:01 IST

Bison gores California woman at Yellowstone



Bison gores California woman at Yellowstone National Park, officials say

A California woman was gored by a bison in Yellowstone National Park on Wednesday, park officials said.

Kim Hancock, 59, of Santa Rosa, was in a crowd of people walking along a boardwalk at Fountain Paint Pot in the Lower Geyser Basin when the attack occurred, according to a statement from Yellowstone.

People in the crowd got increasingly close to the animal, according to park officials, saying “at one point, people were closer than 15 feet from the bison.” The statement noted that people should keep a distance of roughly 75 feet at least from certain animals including bison and elk, and stay even further away from bears and wolves.


“When it crossed the boardwalk, the bison became agitated and charged the crowd, goring Hancock,” park officials said, adding that the animal left the vicinity right after.

Hancock was wounded in her hip and brought to a Montana hospital “in good condition,” officials said. An investigation is underway.

The incident comes on the heels of two elk attacks earlier this month, Yellowstone officials previously said. Two women were attacked by elk in separate incidents, one on Sunday and another on Tuesday, near the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel, according to officials who also said it wasn’t clear whether the same animal was involved in both encounters.


Wednesday’s bison attack is the second time a park visitor has been wounded by the breed this year, officials said, noting that “in a little over a month, four people have been injured by wildlife in Yellowstone.”

In early May, a bison rammed and slightly injured a woman in Yellowstone, officials said at the time.

Fox News’ Shira Bush and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Massive sinkhole prompts evacuation of 22 families in Rome



Massive sinkhole prompts evacuation of 22 families in Rome

A view of a large sinkhole that opened in a street of a residential area in Rome on Wednesday.

(CNN)A massive sinkhole swallowed several cars in a Rome neighborhood, forcing the evacuation of surrounding buildings and raising pressing questions over safety protocols in the Italian capital.

The incident took place on Wednesday in via Livio Andronico, in Rome’s Balduina district, just before 6 p.m. local time, according to Italian firefighters who were called to the scene.

The sinkhole opened up near a building site.

“The road had sunk for about 10 meters, dragging parked vehicles with it,” firefighters said in astatement.
About 22 families were evacuated from the surrounding buildings. No injuries have been reported.
As of Thursday morning, firefighters were still carrying out security and stability checks on the scene with help of technicians.
The sinkhole appeared near a building site where construction workers are erecting residential buildings, according to public broadcaster RAI News.

Workers remove cars that were sucked down into the sinkhole.

Some of the residents said they had complained to authorities about cracks in the roads.
Lawyer Giancarlo De Capraris told La Repubblica newspaper: “In the last three months I filed a complaint to Carabinieri (national police) and firefighters. Everything remained unheeded. I flagged the cracks on the road surface that became deeper every day and the continuous passage of heavy vehicles. This was a disaster waiting to happen.”
One resident told RAI News she felt the floor of the house shaking in the past few days.
Rome Mayor Virginia Raggi told Italian news agency ANSA: “Those responsible will pay.”

Grand Canyon Rattle Snakes-Including Pink Rattle Snakes




Light colored rattlesnake coiled
Grand Canyon rattlesnake on the North Kaibab Trail.


The Grand Canyon is home to six species of rattlesnakes. These creatures control rodent populations in the Canyon, helping prevent the spread of disease and the over grazing of fruiting plants. Please observe these venomous predators from a distance.


  • The most famous physical feature is the rattle on the end of the snake’s tail. It is made of highly modified scales, and the noise it makes is used to scare way animals that may threaten the snake. By scaring away predators without a fight, rattlesnakes avoid injury and don’t waste venom that they need for hunting.
  • Rattlesnakes have a thick body and broad, diamond shaped head.
  • Rattlesnakes are part of a group of venomous snakes called pit vipers. All pit vipers are characterized by a pair of heat-sensing pits below their nostrils that help them find prey at night.
  • Each of the 6 rattlesnake species in the Grand Canyon has a different color pattern.
Rattlesnake with black tip on its tail.
Black-tailed rattlesnakes are only found at the western edge of Grand Canyon.

William Flaxington

Black-Tailed Rattlesnake

Crotalus molossus

Light colored rattlesnake
Often described as pink in color, this species is found nowhere in the world but the Grand Canyon.


Grand Canyon Pink Rattlesnake

Crotalus oreganus abyssus

Light colored snake with dark spots
The North Rim is the only part of the park where this species is found.

Boise State University

Great Basin Rattlesnake

Crotalus oreganus lutosus

Snake coiled between rocks
Hopi rattlesnakes are found in northern Arizona and northwestern New Mexico.


Hopi Rattlesnake

Crotalus viridis nuntius

Rattlesnake coiled on sand
Often called the “Mojave green,” Mojave rattlesnakes often have a greenish color.

William Flaxington

Mojave Rattlesnake

Crotalus scutulatus

Coiled rattlesnake
Speckled rattlesnakes are found in the western part of the park.

William Flaxington

Speckled Rattlesnake

Crotalus mitchellii


  • While they can be found on the Rims, rattlesnakes are primarily found inside the Canyon.
  • Most species prefer open, rocky areas. Rocks provide shelter from predators, and an ambush site for hunting.


  • Rattlesnakes are ambush predators, meaning that they wait motionless until prey moves close enough for the snake to strike.
  • Prey includes small mammals, birds, and other reptiles.
  • Rattlesnakes are hunted by hawks, eagles, and other snakes (including the kingsnake, which is immune to rattlesnake venom).
  • Because rattlesnakes are ectotherms (meaning that they cannot regulate their body temperature like mammals do) they must bask in the sun to warm themselves in cooler weather.
  • During the winter, rattlesnakes enter a state of brumation. Similar to hibernation, brumation means that the snake becomes far less active, but are not completely inactive through the winter. Rattlesnakes will stay in this dormant period until daytime temperatures consistently reach 60oF (15.5oC).
  • Rattlesnakes are highly venomous, but will not attack a human unless provoked. Most bites occur when people try to pick up rattlesnakes.
  • If you hear a rattle, move away from the noise and watch the snake from a distance of at least 15 feet (3m)

Racer Snakes – The Demons Of Planet Earth II




In defence of racer snakes – the demons of Planet Earth II (they’re only after a meal)


It’s the stuff of nightmares: a rockface that comes alive with a writhing mass of snapping serpents seemingly hellbent on working together to capture and consume a defenceless young marine iguana. This jaw-dropping scene aired as part of the new series of the BBC’s flagship natural history programme, Planet Earth II, and seems to have captured the imagination of millions.

Racer snakes are right bast


Filmed on Fernandina Island in the Galápagos, the Galápagos Racer (Philodryas biserialis) is a slim, fast-moving, mildly venomous snake that reaches lengths of up to 120cm. They were filmed during their best feeding opportunity of the year, as young iguanas are born and make a dash for the safety of the higher rocks above. Snake eyesight has evolved to quickly detect movement – and once they spot a target, their reactions can appear highly aggressive and relentless in pursuit.

It’s all too easy to demonise the snake, and for years that’s exactly what the media has encouraged. Reports involving snakes are commonly misrepresented or deliberately sensationalised. Snakes are often portrayed as slimy, cold, angry sticks with teeth rather than anything resembling a living, breathing creature. This of course does little to alleviate public ophidiophobia, an irrational fear of snakes.

In fact, my first break as a wildlife presenter came about following a phone call from the BBC Natural History department regarding snakes, having seen me deliver a talk for the British Association of Science at Cardiff University.

“We’d love to shoot a documentary about adders with you,” the voice on the other end of the phone exclaimed. “We especially want to see the fangs, and the venom … just how much venom can we see from milking an adder?”

Taking a deep breath, I clarified through gritted teeth that Britain’s only venomous snake was both shy and reclusive and not at all aggressive. It was a delicate snake that could easily be injured, and it would be unethical to undertake such an exercise just for the camera. A documentary of that calibre would present adders in a poor light, and it was not a project I would want to be part of.

“Okay,” the voice replied, seemingly without hearing a word I had just uttered. “Do you know anyone else that would be interested?”

One that got away. BBC NHU/© Elizabeth White

I remember thinking that that would be the last chance I’d ever have to work for the BBC, but also feeling that I’d made the right decision. A couple of days later, though, I received another call telling me that the documentary had been poorly thought out and that a decision had been made to cancel the production. As you can imagine, I was relieved. And rather than hinder my career, my stand attracted BBC producers with better judgement, and eventually led to me presenting my own primetime BBC One wildlife series, Rhys Jones’s Wildlife Patrol.

But while it worked out well for me in the end, the same cannot be said for the racer snake, which has already been roundly and colourfully attacked. Rather than capturing a coordinated attack from snakes hunting as a pack, the clip from Planet Earth II actually shows a number of snakes acting individually, on instinct. The time of year when these iguanas hatch is for these snakes the equivalent of Black Friday bargain hunting – it’s every snake for itself, because if they miss out here, they’ll go hungry. Collectively, the actions of these snakes can appear terrifying, but once a snake eats it loses its desire to hunt again.

Unlike mammals, snakes don’t chew their food and have no appendages with which to carve up a share of their quarry with their kin. Evolution has instead led them to consume their prey whole, digesting bones and all. As ectothermic – or cold-blooded – animals, reptiles only require around a tenth of the food intake of a similarly-sized mammal to survive. Once prey is consumed, the snake may not eat again for several weeks.

It is perhaps because snakes’ eating habits, appearance and movement is alien to us that we fear them. After all, we are most often afraid of the things we don’t understand and struggle to anticipate. Throughout history we’ve presented the snake as a symbol of evil and danger. No surprise then to witness the relief felt when the little iguana slipped through the snakes’ constricting coils and escaped to safety. But I suspect very few people gave a second thought to the plight of the snakes left hungry on the beach.

(Nature/Poem) These Beautiful Appalachian Hills

These Beautiful Appalachian Hills


These beautiful hills of east Tennessee

The Smokey’s so beautiful, all natural

A gem of nature, for all, so pleasing to see

Can the eye see, what was, what is, what will be


Appalachia, scenic, pleasing to one’s senses

People so poor, yet so kind, southern hospitality

Raised with tobacco, coal, and dirt in our blood

Heads bowed on the Sabbath or the First

Like we know we all should, give the Lord thanks


Blue Ridge Mountains of southwest Virginia

Iron Ridge, Twin County, Carol and Grayson

Twin sisters in nature, the people are one

Our love is not money The Lord come’s first


Tread lightly on that which you love

Walk to heavily, you crush all that is good

Consider that what you see, given by Grace

God’s nature is that which you breathe


Do not let that which you love, be trashed

Treat your gifts like one that you truly love

From the Smokey’s to the Blue Ridge Mountains

A gift we are given by Grace so blessed to call home



El Capitan rockfall kills one, injures another at Yosemite



El Capitan rockfall kills one, injures another at Yosemite National Park

Tour guide Jon Kameen captured the moment of a fatal rock fall on Yosemite's El Capitan.

Story highlights

  • Fatal rock slide was an “undetermined size”
  • Fall took place during climbing season on popular route

(CNN)At least one person was killed and another injured after a rockfall on El Capitan, the most prominent granite cliff in Yosemite National Park, according to a statement from the National Parks Service.

The fatal rock slide, which was of “undetermined size,” according to a press release from the NPS, appears to have started near the Waterfall Route, a “popular climbing route” on the east buttress of the famous, nearly 3,000-foot granite wall.
“Park Rangers are working to transport the injured person to receive medical care outside of the park,” the statement reads. The rockfall comes during climbing season, and there are “many climbers” on the rock formation and other climbing routes in Yosemite.
The statement adds that the Yosemite remains open and visitor services unaffected.
Tour guide John DeGrazio was giving a tour of the park when he captured the moment of the rockfall.
“We saw a huge plume of smoke from the summit of Half Dome and later found out it was a fatal rockfall,” he told CNN.
“I am a guide on a tour right now. We were on the summit of Half Dome when we saw this.”
El Capitan is one of the world’s most famous climbs, known for its near vertical cliffs. It was believed to be impossible to climb until 1957, when American rock climbing pioneer Warren Harding made it to the top with two aides.
In June, climber Alex Honnold became the first person to free-solo climb the mountain.

Fire Cuts Off Return Route for Dozens of Glacier National Park Visitors



Fire Cuts Off Return Route for Dozens of Glacier National Park Visitors

9:53 AM ET 8-12-2017

(HELENA, Mont.) — A wildfire has cut off the return route for dozens of people staying in a Glacier National Park backcountry chalet, leaving them the choice of remaining until rangers tell them it’s safe or hiking out along a longer and more difficult trail, park officials said Friday.

Park rangers also planned to lead out 39 other hikers who were staying in backcountry campsites near fires that broke out after a passing lightning storm on Thursday, Glacier spokeswoman Lauren Alley said.

It’s peak tourist season at the Montana park, and the stone chalet built more than a century ago is a top attraction in one of the busiest parts of Glacier. There are typically between 40 and 50 guests and 10 staff members at the chalet each night, with most visitors arriving by foot or horse along a steep trail nearly 7 miles (11 kilometers) from Lake McDonald Lodge on the park’s main roadway.

A lightning strike ignited a fire in the forest somewhere between the lodge and the chalet. Neither structure is threatened, but park officials determined that it was unsafe for those at the chalet to return by the same trail Friday.

Thirty-nine of the 42 guests staying at the Sperry Chalet decided to hike out and three stayed behind, said Suzie Menke, the office manager of Belton Chalets Inc., which runs the chalet.

They must take a rugged trail more than 13 miles (21 kilometers) long that crosses two mountain passes and can take eight to 10 hours to walk. That trail ends up on the eastern side of the park, on the other side of the Continental Divide from Lake McDonald Lodge.

For those who stay, the chalet has running water, a full-service kitchen and 17 private rooms — but it doesn’t have electricity and only spotty cellphone coverage.

“The good news is they got resupplied yesterday,” Alley said.

Park officials confirmed three small fires started after Thursday’s lightning storm. The one affecting Sperry Chalet is the largest at about 10 acres (40,500 square meters).

Despite the sudden outbreak of fires, most areas of the park are still open to the record number of tourists who are flocking to Glacier this year. More than 1 million people visited the park in July, the first time so many people have been in Glacier over the course of a single month.

Dozens of fires are burning across the West, and federal and state fire managers planned to raise the National Fire Preparedness Level to its highest point on Friday. That Level 5 signals most firefighting resources are being used and that assistance may be needed from military and other nations. The level was last raised to 5 in 2015.

In Oregon, a fire on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation destroyed two houses and threatened dozens of others. The fire had burned more than 30 square miles (78 square kilometers) by late Thursday, and one firefighter suffered a minor injury.

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