November 20, 2018 2:53 pm
Updated: November 21, 2018 11:44 pm

Paradise lost: Photos show town before and after the Camp Fire destroyed it

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Rescuers are slowly documenting the full scope of the fire that wiped out Paradise, Calif., through a collection of photos that show the ruins of each building destroyed in the blaze.

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CalFire has been meticulously inspecting each structure destroyed by the Camp Fire, which torched nearly 12,000 structures when it ripped through Paradise last week. Inspectors have posted photos of each destroyed structure online, so that the 27,000 people who were forced to evacuate the area last week can look up the fate of their homes.

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The photos show a town virtually razed to the ground by fire, with only a few chimneys, burned-out cars and steel beams still standing. A few structures escaped the fire with minimal or no damage, but the vast majority of buildings have been totally lost.

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This home was one of several destroyed on Honey Run Road, on the western side of town.

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The fire wiped out several churches in Paradise, including the Calvary Baptist Church on the southern end of town and the Pentecostal Church of God on the north end.

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The fire also burned down a McDonald’s on Clark Road. Only the sign was left standing.

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Firefighters, search and rescue teams and a few residents have already been picking through the ruins for days, sifting through the ashes in search of human remains or signs of life. The official death toll sits at 79, but nearly 700 individuals are still unaccounted for.

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The Camp Fire has burned more than 611 square kilometres (236 square miles) since it started on Nov. 8, and was 70 per cent contained on Monday.

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Hundreds of mobile homes were destroyed on the north end of the town, including several around the corner from a fire station.

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Searchers were racing the weather on Tuesday, with rain in the forecast for Wednesday. They worry the rainfall could wash away traces of human remains.

Refugees from the town have taken shelter in neighbouring communities, particularly in nearby Chico, where dozens have been camped out in a Walmart parking lot.

California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said it is “way too early” to estimate the damage done by the wildfire. But for perspective, he said the Northern California fires that gutted 6,800 homes last year resulted in $12.6 billion in insured losses. This year’s Camp Fire destroyed nearly twice that number of buildings.

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“It’s going to be a long and painful process,” he told the Associated Press.

With files from the Associated Press

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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