Trump Insists Raking Would Help Stop Forest Fires; Twitter Reels

Elias Hubbard
November 18, 2018

US President Donald Trump has arrived in California to survey the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in the state's history.

Mr Trump, who has long feuded with the political leaders of heavily Democratic California over issues such as immigration and voting, has also threatened to withhold federal payments to the state.

Later, after touring the burned remains of the town of Paradise, which is all but destroyed in the wake of the fire, Trump said he was stunned by the scale of the devastation.

"Nobody could have thought this would ever happen", Trump told reporters amid the charred wreckage of the town's Skyway Villa Mobile Home and RV Park.

"This is very sad to see".

Mr Trump pledged that improved forest management practices would diminish future risks.

Brown and Newsom said they welcomed the president's visit, with Brown suggesting they set aside political differences since it "now is a time to pull together for the people of California".

"They're out there fighting and they're fighting like hell", Trump said of the first responders.

Kevin Cory, a wildfire evacuee who lost his home in Paradise, praised Trump for coming to a state that is often at odds with the White House.

The disaster already ranks among the deadliest USA bushfires since the turn of the last century. Eighty-seven people perished in the Big Burn firestorm that swept the Northern Rockies in August 1910.

People continue to die in California's wildfires.

Fire and forest management experts criticized Trump last weekend for blaming the wildfires on poor forest management and misappropriation of funds. "It's like total devastation", Trump said as he stood amid the ruins of Paradise.

Adding to the misery of Camp Fire survivors, an outbreak of the highly contagious norovirus has been reported at several shelters.

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More than a week later, firefighters have managed to carve containment lines around 55 percent of the blaze's perimeter.

Officials hope to have the Camp Fire contained within the next two weeks.

Some rain was expected in the Butte County area on Tuesday which could help put out the fire, but there were fears there could be floods or landslides in areas where the trees and vegetation have been razed.

With more than 9,700 homes up in smoke, many refugees have taken up temporary residence with friends and family, while others have pitched tents or were camping out of their vehicles.

"But we have incredible people doing the job".

Over a thousand people are unaccounted for in the fires, and over 70 have been confirmed dead.

Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea called the list dynamic and said it will fluctuate.

Mr Honea bristled when asked whether many of those listed at this point, more than a week after the disaster, were expected to end up either deceased or declared missing and presumed dead.

Karen Atkinson, of Marin, searches for human remains with her cadaver dog, Echo, in a van destroyed by the Camp Fire in Paradise, Calif., Nov. 14, 2018. But I think everyone is on the right side.

"It's really very important for you to take a look at the list and call us if you're on the list and let us know", Honea said. Others may not have been immediately listed because of delays in reporting them.

Heavy rain is forecast next week that could douse the flames but also bring mudslides and floods on hillsides stripped of vegetation.

Northern California crews battling the country's deadliest wildfire in a century were bracing for strong winds, with gusts up to 50 miles per hour, creating the potential to erode gains they have made in containing a disaster that has killed at least 76 and leveled a town. The nearby Hill Fire was 100 percent contained by Friday night, Cal Fire reports.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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