With 63 people confirmed dead in the Northern California wildfire, authorities tried to pare down a hastily prepared list of more than 600 missing people hoping many of them safely escaped the chaos over a week ago.
According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, 2018 has been one of the state’s most destructive wildfire seasons on record, with a total of 7,579 fires burning an area of 1,667,855 acres, the largest amount of burned acreage recorded in a fire season.
The fires caused more than $2.975 billion in damages, including $1.366 billion in fire suppression costs.
President Donald Trump, meanwhile, will travel to the disaster zone Saturday to get a look at the grief and damage from the deadliest U.S. wildfire in a century and could encounter locals resentful over his suggestion California is to blame for its misfortune.
Some survivors take exception that two days after the disaster Trump used Twitter to blame the wildfires on forest mismanagement and threaten to withhold federal payments from California.
“If you insult people, then you go visit them, how do you think you’re going to be accepted? You’re not going to have a parade,” said Maggie Crowder, who was interviewed as she stood in a line outside an assistance center set up by government agencies. With winter coming on, survivors are seeking answers on what assistance will be provided.
Around 52,000 people have been driven out and have gone to shelters, motels, the homes of friends and relatives, and a Walmart parking lot and an adjacent field in Chico, a dozen miles from Paradise.
The wildfire practically burned the town of Paradise to the ground and heavily damaged the outlying communities of Magalia and Concow on Nov. 8, destroying 9,700 houses and 144 apartment buildings.
Firefighters continued to gain ground against the blaze, which blackened 222 square miles but they managed stop it from spreading toward Oroville, population 19,000.
Firehawk helicopters flying along Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu dropped water to protect life and property, in what is being called by officials a historic event.
Several celebrities have had to flee their homes, among them Alyssa Milano, Rainn Wilson, Kim Kardashian, Guillermo del Toro and others — many still don’t know the fate of their property after evacuating while some reported their homes have been destroyed in the flames.
Actress Alyssa Milano said she evacuate her home from the fires last week, saying “I took my kids, dogs, computer and my Doc Marten boots.”
In mid-July to August 2018, a series of large wildfires erupted across California, mostly in the northern part of the state, including the destructive Carr Fire and the Mendocino Complex Fire.
On August 4, 2018, a national disaster was declared in Northern California, due to the massive wildfires burning there.
In November 2018, dry, warm, down-slope winds coming off of a mountain rangecaused another round of large, destructive fires to erupt across the state. This new batch of wildfires includes the Woolsey Fire and Camp Fire, the latter of which has thus far killed 56 people and destroyed more than 10,321 structures, becoming both California’s deadliest and most destructive wildfire on record.
In fire-stricken Southern California, more residents were being allowed back in their homes near Los Angeles after a blaze torched an area the size of Denver and destroyed more than 600 homes and other structures. The blaze was 69 percent contained, authorities said.
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