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California Wildfires Kill At Least 9 as Trump Blames the State

One expert described it as “most destructive fire in California’s recorded history”

people on a street watching fire on mountains

California wildfires killed at least nine people and forced thousands to evacuate their homes.

Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP/REX/Shutterstock

A Northern California wildfire has killed at least nine people and forced thousands more to evacuate their homes while two other major fires rage in Southern California. Dry Santa Ana winds and drought conditions in the state are contributing to the fast-spreading flames.

Firefighters across the state are working to contain the fires while more than a quarter of a million people have been evacuated from their homes. As of Saturday morning, CNN reported, the northern Camp Fire is 20-percent contained; the Hill Fire affecting Thousand Oaks is 25-percent contained; and the Woolsey Fire in Ventura County and Malibu is currently uncontrolled.

“This is the most destructive fire in California’s recorded history,” Scott McLean, deputy chief of communications with CAL FIRE told NPR of the Camp Fire that wiped out more than 6,700 buildings on 140 square miles in the town of Paradise, 80 miles north of Sacramento. Nine people died in the flames—five were found in their cars, and four were discovered in their homes. Thirty-five people are also reported missing.

On Saturday morning, President Donald Trump employed a familiar strategy when he tweeted about the wildfires. “There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor,” Trump wrote, threatening to pull federal disaster funding in the future.

This is, of course, not the case. California is experiencing extremely dry conditions for this time of year, which is providing the fire with more fuel. Tim Chavez, who analyzes fire behavior for CAL FIRE, said in a news conference Friday that the fire is “unique to be this late in northern California.”

Chavez continued, saying that under normal conditions, rains would have likely made the woods and brush damp, slowing or stopping the spreading flames. “Fuels will continue to get drier and drier and drier until we do finally get a season-ending rainfall event,” he warned.

Celebrity homes as well as the Bachelor mansion and part of the Westworld set have fallen victim to the fires. Cher, Rainn Wilson, Kim Kardashian, Lady Gaga, Scott Baio, and Guillermo del Toro were all forced to evacuate their homes.

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