TIME

California burning

A firefighter on watch as the Camp Fire burns in Paradise, Calif., on Nov. 8

THE SO-CALLED CAMP FIRE RAVAGING THE SIERRA NEVADA foothills in Northern California started on Nov. 8 as so many others do: a small spark in a remote area becomes a fire, unnoticed until it’s a bigger fire, at which point authorities race to extinguish it—or at least to try.

But despite its origins, the Camp Fire

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