Trump threatens to pull federal funds for wildfires over forest ‘mismanagement’

Leroy Wright
November 12, 2018

Wildfires burning across California have now killed 11 people, including nine found dead in a massive fire in Northern California that destroyed the town of Paradise. "It was the event we have feared for a long time", Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said at a Friday evening press conference. "Regrettably, not everybody made it out".

Firefighters have saved thousands of homes despite working in "extreme, tough fire conditions that they said they have never seen in their life", Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl Osby said.

In Los Angeles, another, smaller fire in Griffith Park forced the Los Angeles Zoo to evacuate a number of show birds and some small primates on Friday as flames came within less than 2 miles (3 km) of the facility, zoo officials said in a statement.

A Cal Fire firefighter climbs a ladder by a burning structure while battling the Camp Fire in Paradise, California, U.S., November 9, 2018.

Firefighters are scrambling to take advantage of the better conditions to start reining in the blaze.

Trump tweets: President Donald Trump blamed the wildfires on the "gross mismanagement of the forests" in a tweet early Saturday.

Trump says Saturday via Twitter that "there is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly fires in California". He added that "billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests".

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Governor-elect Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency to provide assistance to the hardest-hit areas in the fire-prone state.

Local power authorities have told state officials an outage occurred near the spot where the fire erupted, The Sacramento Bee reported, but there is still no official cause of the Camp blaze.

Last month, after Trump rekindled his criticism of California's wildfire prevention steps, a spokesman for Brown said Trump's comments lacked credibility. He found his home leveled - a large metal safe and some pipe work from his septic system the only recognizable traces.

Most of the town's buildings are in ruin. Firefighters carried people from homes and put them in empty seats of their neighbors' cars, said Carol Napoli, 74.

To help victims of the fire, the Ventura County Community Foundation has established the Hill Fire/Woolsey Fire Sudden and Urgent Needs Effort Fund to support the nonprofit organizations that are now serving survivors. "It'll be similar wind conditions to when the fire first started, and with a significant wind event like that, our crews are anxious about (the fire's) potential to spread". Actor Gerard Butler said on Instagram that his Malibu home was "half-gone", and a publicist for Camille Grammer Meyer said the "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" star lost her home in the seaside enclave.

But the flames also burned inland through hills and canyons dotted with modest homes, reached into the corner of the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles, and stretched into suburbs like Thousand Oaks, a city of 130,000 people that just a few days ago saw 12 people killed in a mass shooting at a country and western bar.

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