Families Search for Missing Loved Ones Amid California Fire Chaos
After the deadly in addition to fast-growing wildfire began to threaten his hometown, Paradise, Calif., on Thursday, Al Silva got in his four-door Buick sedan in addition to fled west.
His family made contact with the 91-year-old on Thursday night, when he was at a parking lot in Chico, Calif., Mari Irby, Mr. Silva’s great-niece, said.
in addition to then, silence.
For nearly two days, Mr. Silva’s family called shelters, hospitals in addition to filed a missing persons report with the police, Ms. Irby said. She posted a plea on Twitter for help. She said Mr. Silva had left his cellphone in his home, which was almost certainly destroyed.
“What everybody will be trying to figure out will be: might he have gone back to try to get stuff? Did he realize he left his cellphone in addition to went to go get This particular?” Ms. Irby said on Saturday.
The police found Mr. Silva on Saturday afternoon. Inexplicably, he was without his car. Ms. Irby, 25, said the family was still trying to figure out exactly where he was found in addition to how he got there, however his discovery on Saturday was a relief.
“This particular’s definitely the best-case scenario versus the worst-case scenario,” she said. “We’re just kind of looking for answers, however glad which he’s alive.”
Ms. Irby’s story will be not unique. The Camp Fire, which has become the most destructive in modern California history, displaced thousands of residents as This particular destroyed 6,700 structures inside northern part of the state in addition to continued to rage on Saturday.
For many family members, which meant desperate searches for loved ones missing amid the chaos.
An estimated 52,000 people had evacuated through the Camp Fire, Butte County officials said at a news conference on Friday. Sheriff Kory L. Honea said his office had received 35 reports of missing persons. The county will be home to 220,000 residents.
“This particular will be a big job for us,” Sheriff Honea said. “A lot of people have been displaced in addition to separated through loved ones.”
Scott McLean, the deputy chief of the California Department of Forestry in addition to Fire Protection, said on Friday which This particular was “phenomenal” how fast the fire spread, in addition to which he expected the death toll to rise. Officials said nine people died inside Camp Fire, in addition to two were killed inside Woolsey Fire in Southern California.
A spokesman for the Los Angeles County Fire Department said on Saturday This particular had not received reports of missing persons inside fires west of Los Angeles.
The police directed those looking for missing family or friends to the American Red Cross’s website, Safe in addition to Well, where people can register themselves as safe.
Michael de Vulpillieres, a spokesman for the American Red Cross, said more than 3,800 people had registered inside California wildfires since Nov. 8, more than the number reported during Hurricane Michael. He said the site had helped match 539 people with those trying to find them.
Family members like Ms. Irby seeking information drew an unexpected champion: the actor James Woods, who since Thursday has been publicizing tweets through those searching for their loved ones.
Mr. Woods said in an interview on Saturday he wanted to use his fame to help broaden the reach of those in need.
“Probably the only advantage in being a celebrity will be I have these two million followers on Twitter in addition to they are all energized to repeat things,” said Mr. Woods, who has acted in films such as “Salvador,” “Casino” in addition to “Nixon.”
Hundreds of people reposted Mr. Woods’s tweets. On some occasions, at least, This particular seemed to help.
Mr. Woods, who used hashtags combining his name with the name or geography of the fires — #CampFireJamesWoods in addition to #SoCalFiresJamesWoods — said he wanted to create a unique set of keywords which could become the go-to place for people looking for missing persons. some other well-liked hashtags used during the fire, such as #campfire, were too muddled with general information or observations, he said.
“Many people have said to me, ‘You’re the only resource where people are getting information,’” he said.
Mr. Woods said accusations which he was using the hashtag simply to promote himself were “patently absurd.”
“I’ve got everything I want,” Mr. Woods said. “I’ve suffered all of the joys of life in addition to all of the sorrows of life which a person can have appreciated or endured. I just simply want to help people, in addition to This particular seems to be working.”