The California fires in heartbreaking numbers

19 November 2018 - 09:49 By Ntokozo Miya
A man watches as the Woolsey Fire reaches the ocean along Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 1) near Malibu, California, on November 9 2018.
A man watches as the Woolsey Fire reaches the ocean along Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 1) near Malibu, California, on November 9 2018.
Image: Robyn Beck / AFP

It’s been 10 days since the California wildfires started and US officials predict they are far from over. 

According to CNN, the state’s forestry and fire protection agency, Cal Fire, said the blazes may go on until November 30. 

“This is unprecedented. No one has had to deal with this magnitude that caused so much destruction and, regrettably, so much death,” said a local sheriff. 

150,000 acres

The latest figures, released on Sunday by officials, state that 150,000 acres of land have been scorched, almost a third of the size of Johannesburg.

Firefighters have only managed to contain 65% of the fires, described as the deadliest in the history of California.

79 dead

The death toll, which has risen to 79, is expected to increase as firefighters continue to battle the flames. 

1,000 missing

Rescue personnel are searching for nearly 1,000 people who have gone missing. 

However, authorities said there may be duplicate names on their database because the missing-person reports were filed from phone calls, emails and other sources.

13,000 buildings damaged

On Friday, Forbes reported that 13,000 buildings have been affected and the insurance industry is bracing itself for massive claims. 

Perhaps the most heartbreaking accounts of the fires are those provided by US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) images, which put into perspective the true scale of the damage and loss experienced by the people of California.

The images show a cloud hovering above the state, a sight visible from space. 

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