Gerard Butler returns to his home only to find it completely burned down by California fires
Over the last week, California has faced some of the deadliest wildfires in the state's history. The Woolsey fire and the Hill fire have together lead to the destruction of 179 buildings and counting, while the Camp fire is said to have destroyed an estimated 6,700 structures.
So far, it is believed that around 31 residents have been killed, 29 in Northern California's Camp fire and two in Southern California's Woolsey fire. Butte County Sheriff and Coroner Kory Honea confirmed this to reporters on Sunday evening, as well as clarifying that 228 people are still unaccounted for.
Since the fires started, more than 300,000 people have been forced to leave their homes and evacuate the area, and dry conditions mean that the fire is likely to continue throughout the week. By Sunday night, the Woolsey fire had spread to over 85,000 acres, but has been 15% contained (up from 5% the night before). Meanwhile, the Hill fire covered 4,500 acres and has been 75% contained.
Various flare-ups in the fires were contained in Malibu and Bell Canyon in Ventura County, Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl Osby confirmed, but there have been some significant losses still. With dry conditions persisting, new flare-ups could reach beyond containment lines, meaning that there will still be widespread evacuations.
"We must remain vigilant and not let our guard down," Osby said.
One of those evacuated was Gerard Butler, who later returned to his Malibu home on Saturday to find it utterly destroyed by the Woolsey fire. The actor shared a photo of the devastation to his Instagram page, where he also praised the work of the firefighters. He wrote:
"Returned to my house in Malibu after evacuating. Heartbreaking time across California. Inspired as ever by the courage, spirit and sacrifice of firefighters.
"Thank you @LosAngelesFireDepartment. If you can, support these brave men and women at SupportLAFD.org"
Neil Young also lost his home to the fire, and wrote about the impact of climate change on the area for his website. "I have lost my home before to a California wildfire, now another," he wrote. "Sadly, with these winds, it's not over yet," Scott Jalbert, chief of Cal Fire's San Luis Obispo Unit, said Sunday morning, speaking of the 40 mph winds.
LA County Fire Chief Daryl Osby also commented on the significance of these fires, linking it to the extensive impact that climate change has already had on the area:
"And as evident by the Camp Fire in Northern California - which is larger than this, more structures have been lost than this, more lives have been lost - it's evident from that situation statewide that we're in climate change and it's going to be here for the foreseeable future."
"This is not the new normal, this is the new abnormal," Governor Jerry Brown said of the role climate change had to play in these unfortunate events. "The chickens are coming home to roost, this is real here."