The California wildfires have resulted in the deaths of 66 people, while the numbers of those missing have climbed to over 600. The natural disaster, which began on November 8, has become the most destructive and deadly wildfire in the Golden State’s history.
The disaster has affected various parts of northern and southern California; engulfing the vast majority of the town of Paradise (approximately 280 km north of San Francisco). The Camp fire, as it has been named, erupted last Thursday in the Sierra foothills, leaving thousands displaced and living in tents.
Nearly 1,000 individuals have begun searching through several communities in Butte County to rescue missing individuals. The fires in northern California have covered a surface area of 142,000 acres and have been only 45 per cent contained.
Southern California’s fires, dubbed Woolsey fire, has covered nearly 100,000 acres of land; damaging over 500 structures and leaving almost 60,000 in danger. The natural disaster has affected both, Los Angeles and Ventura county.
69 per cent of Woolsey fire has been contained by emergency responders.
The fires in southern California have reached Malibu, Calabasas, and Agoura; destroying several celebrities’ homes, including Robin Thicke, Miley Cyrus and Gerard Butler. Other celebrities, such as Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, have even gone to the extent of hiring private fire fighters to protect their homes from destruction.
Insurance companies, including AIG and Chubb, have openly spoken of their wildfire protection teams for homes with immense value at risk.
President Donald Trump has received a wave of backlash for politicising the wildfires; blaming the natural disaster on poor forest management. On November 10, the POTUS tweeted:
“There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor. 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!”
While also releasing tweets blaming the fire departments of California on a continuation of natural devastation. Several heads of responding units have criticized the president’s remarks, including the president of the International Association of Fire Fighters, Harold Schaitberger; calling Trump’s remarks ‘reckless and insulting.’
Scooter Braun, the manager for famous acts such as Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande, responded to the president’s tweets through mentioning that 98 per cent of the devastated land is federally owned, and the devastation of land may be linked to his budget cuts. Actor and environmental activist, Leonardo DiCaprio, also expressed his belief that climate change is a leading factor affecting the drought in California and causing the wildfires.
President Trump stated that he will visit the affected areas in California and visit the displaced citizens this Saturday.