2 MONSTER FIRES RAVAGING CALIFORNIA
Trump blames mismanagement of forests, threatens to stop federal funding
TWO monster wildfires burned out of control yesterday in northern and southern California, having already killed at least nine people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee their homes.
President Donald Trump blamed the fires on forest mismanagement and threatened to withdraw federal funding.
In Los Angeles County, the 14,164ha Woolsey Fire was threatening 75,000 homes and more than 200,000 people were evacuated early yesterday.
Some of the evacuation orders were for residents within the City of Los Angeles in the West Hills area. It was unclear how many homes have been evacuated within the City of Los Angeles.
About 800km to the north, nine people were found dead in and around the town here, where more than 6,700 homes and businesses were razed by the Camp Fire.
“This event was the worst-case scenario. It was what we have feared for a long time,” Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said.
“Regrettably, not everybody made it out.”
Trump yesterday tweeted that “gross mismanagement of forests” was to blame for the two unchecked wildfires.
“There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor,” he wrote in a Twitter post.
“Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!” he added.
The remains of five of the victims in Northern California were discovered in or near burned out cars, three outside residences and one inside a home, Butte County’s Honea said.
Another 35 people had been reported missing and three firefighters had been injured.
The flames descended here so quickly that many people were forced to abandon their cars and run for their lives down the sole road through the mountain town.
The Camp Fire, which broke out on Thursday at the edge of the Plumas National Forest northeast of Sacramento, has since blackened more than 36,421ha and was only five per cent contained as of Friday.
The Woolsey Fire broke out on Thursday and quickly jumped the 101 Freeway, a major north-south artery, in several places.
On Friday, it moved over the Santa Monica Mountains toward Malibu, where flames driven by hot Santa Ana winds gusting up to 80kph raced down hillsides and through canyons toward multi-million dollar homes.
Thousands took to the Pacific Coast Highway to head south or took refuge on beaches, along with their horses and other pets.
Among those forced to flee were celebrities Lady Gaga and Kim Kardashian, who said on Twitter that flames had damaged the home she shares in nearby Calabasas with Kanye West.
In Los Angeles, another smaller fire in Griffith Park forced the Los Angeles Zoo to evacuate show birds and some primates on Friday as flames came within less than 3km of the facility.
(Right) A woman reacting as the Woolsey Fire burns in Malibu, California, on Friday. (Inset) Firefighters trying to put out a burning residential unit in Malibu.