Paradise, California, just beginning damage assessment

An initial report from an ongoing field damage inspection in fire-ravaged Paradise, California, shows nearly all of the homes have been destroyed in an area surveyed.

As the Camp Fire roared through the Northern California town last week, people barely had enough time to escape much less take any of their belongings.

Officials say at least 48 people died in what’s now the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history. Nearly a week later, more than 100 people remain missing.

More than 5,600 firefighters are working to contain the blaze, while teams have been deployed to survey some of the worst-hit areas.

Longtime fire official has never seen such destruction

Some 60 teams are out inspecting damage in Paradise and in nearby Concow and Magalia, also in Butte County. They’ve completed surveys for about 10% of the area, but the reports so far are chilling.

“I’ve never been to an incident with this much destruction and the complexity that’s tied to it,” says 30-year veteran Dave Russell of Cal Fire, the state’s forestry and fire protection agency.