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California's Camp Fire, which largely destroyed the town of Paradise, is the state's most destructive blaze on record. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

California's Camp Fire, which largely destroyed the town of Paradise, is now the most destructive wildfire in state history in terms of property damage.

The big picture: According to officials, the fire has destroyed at least 6,713 homes, businesses and other structures, while killing multiple people. Both the property count and death toll are likely to rise as officials comb through the wreckage. This fire surpasses the damage from the previous record-holder, which was the deadly Tubbs Fire, which devastated Santa Rosa in the state's wine country just 13 months ago.

The human toll: The fire sped through the town, located about 90 miles north of Sacramento, so quickly on Thursday night into Friday morning that some residents had no time to escape. Those who did make it were forced into such hasty evacuations they they left valuables and in many cases, pets, behind.

  • Paradise Vice Mayor Greg Bolin told the LA Times that he has been informed that up to 90% of his town has been destroyed. “The town is gone,” he said.

Between the lines: The fire now measures well over 100,000 acres in size and has been fueled by a combination of unusually dry weather and powerful, desiccating Santa Ana winds, at times blowing at hurricane force (75 miles per hour). The winds made the flames impossible to anticipate and control, giving firefighters no choice but to help residents flee, rather than beat the flames back to save the community.

The trends: The Camp Fire that tore through Paradise is not an anomaly. California is experiencing one of its worst wildfire seasons on record, having had its hottest month in state history in July, along with the largest fire the state has ever recorded.

According to Aon Insurance meteorologist Steve Bowen, 7 of the top 20 most destructive fires in the state have occurred since October 2017.

Other data show stark trends, too.

The climate context:

  • There is no more discrete "wildfire season" in the Golden State anymore. Instead, it's lasting all year long, a trend that has been occurring with increasing regularity in Western states due to a combination of climate change, land development and forest management practices, among other factors.
  • California has had one of its warmest and driest six month periods on record since 1895 (May through October), according to NOAA. Much of California has not seen measurable rain in months, and vegetation moisture levels are near all-time lows. 
  • Longer-term climate change and population growth are combining to cause increased wildfire risk in California, including in highly populated areas.
  • One of the biggest changes firefighters are having to contend with is an uptick in instances of extreme fire behavior, such as the massive EF-4 fire tornado that accompanied the Carr Fire in July.

The bottom line: We're witnessing more deadly and destructive wildfire disasters in a state that is likely to see this problem grow worse with time, as climate change leads to more erratic rainy seasons and hotter, drier and more extended dry seasons.

Go deeper: Special Report: A 30-year alarm on the reality of climate change.

Go deeper

Rep. Rice demands Cuomo resign after third woman accuses him of misconduct

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo during a February news conference in New York City. Photo: Seth Wenig/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.) on Monday evening called for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) to resign, after a third woman accused him of inappropriate behavior.

Driving the news: Anna Ruch told the New York Times Monday that Cuomo asked to kiss her at a New York City wedding reception in September 2019.

Scoop: Inside the GOP's plan to retake the House

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty Images

House Republicans will reclaim their majority in 2022 by offering candidates who are women, minorities or veterans, a memo obtained by Axios says.

Why it matters: The document, drafted by a super PAC blessed by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, names top Democrats to target — Jared Golden of Maine, Matt Cartwright of Pennsylvania and Ron Kind of Wisconsin — and the type of Republican candidates to beat them.

28 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Trump talked out of early Ohio endorsement

Jane Timken at a 2017 Trump rally. Photo: Kyle Mazza/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Donald Trump had to be talked out of making an early endorsement in Ohio's 2022 U.S. Senate race, a sign of his eagerness to reengage politically, people familiar with the conversations tell Axios.

What we're hearing: The former president discussed endorsing former state GOP chair Jane Timken last week during a meeting at Mar-a-Lago with RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, but top advisers — including Donald Trump Jr. — urged him to wait.