Death toll rises to 76 in California fire with winds ahead

Blanche Robertson
November 18, 2018

The Woolsey Fire has burned more than 98,000 acres and destroyed at least 616 homes.

More than 700 people who were once on the list have since been accounted for, he said.

Some listed have likely survived but not yet notified family or authorities.

"We've never seen anything like this in California", he said.

"I was with the president of Finland and he said, 'We have a much different -we're a forest nation.' He called it a forest nation, and they spent a lot of time on raking and cleaning and doing things", Trump said, standing amid crumbled homes and melted cars.

Brown and Newsom welcomed Trump's visit, declaring it's time "to pull together for the people of California".

Asked about the president's tweetstorm, LaMalfa told USA media that the fallout stemmed from the timing of the tweets and not the "substance of the argument".

Carrie Armstrong, 57, of Topanga said she read the statement Trump posted on Twitter as the Woolsey fire in Malibu raged through the canyon and threatened her home.

Those are areas where undeveloped woodland and rural communities are adjacent.

Trump responded, saying: "Thank you, Jerry Brown".

In addition, the majority of California's forests are not actually managed by the state at all.

Trump had made only one previous trip as president to California, a deeply Democratic and liberal state that he has blamed for a pair of overheated crises, illegal immigration and voter fraud.

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Paradise was home to almost 27,000 residents before it was largely incinerated by the blaze on the night of November 8.

But Stacy Lazzarino, who voted for Trump, said it would be good for the president to see the devastation up close: "I think by maybe seeing it, he's going to be like 'Oh, my goodness, ' and it might start opening people's eyes".

"It's going to work out well, but right now we want to take of the people that are so badly hurt", Trump said visiting what remained of the Skyway Villa Mobile Home and RV Park.

Firefighter Joshua Watson said he viewed the upcoming visit as a sign of support for firefighters, "no matter what you think about him". "You look at other countries where they do it differently and it's a whole different story".

Trump, downplaying the role of a changing climate in fuelling the fires, said the management and maintenance of forest lands will be the focus moving forward, and he announced $500m for that effort in the Farm Bill. "I think everybody's seen the light and I don't think we'll have this again to this extent".

Honea said among the dead was Lolene Rios, 56, whose son Jed tearfully told KXTV in Sacramento that his mother "had endless amount of love for me".

The death toll was at 71 as of November 16, according to the Butte County Sheriff's Office, which also said that it had identified two sets of human remains as Paula Dodge, 70, and Randall Dodge, 67, both of Paradise.

Firefighters were racing against time with a red flag warning issued for Saturday night into Sunday, including winds up to 50 miles per hour and low humidity.

Though many might welcome the fire-suppressing power of heavy rain, rainfall in the wake of bushfire exposes the damaged soil surface to the risk of mudslides.

Weather conditions have since turned more to firefighters' favor, though strong, gusty winds and lower humidity were expected to return late Saturday through early Sunday ahead of rain forecast for midweek.

"It's a disheartening situation", Honea said.

The Camp Fire is considered the most destructive wildfire in recorded state history, eclipsing the 2017 Tubbs Fire, which destroyed 5,636 structures, according to Cal Fire.

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