As California burns from both ends, the Camp Fire currently ravaging the northern part of the state has become the most destructive in its history.
The fire had stretched 40,468 hectares as of Saturday morning, according to officials. At least 6453 homes and 260 commercial structures have been destroyed in the fire, the cause of which is still under investigation.
With only 20 per cent of the fire contained, officials say that 15,000 structures could be at risk. Paradise, a community of 27,000 people north of Sacramento, was almost completely wiped out by the fire after it engulfed the area on Thursday.
The Camp Fire has officially damaged more property than last year’s record-breaking Tubbs Fire, which according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection burned 14,895 hectares, destroyed 5636 structures, and was responsible for 22 deaths.
Three firefighters have been confirmed injured in the Camp Fire, with at least nine fatalities reported so far. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that none of the victims have yet been identified. Several individuals were found inside their vehicles, while one victim was found outside their car. Three people were found inside residences, and one victim was found outside of a home.
In the southern part of the state, the Hill and Woolsey Fires are still raging as evacuations in Ventura and Los Angeles counties continue. Cal Fire estimated that the yet-uncontained Woolsey fire has burned tens of thousands of hectares, while the Hill Fire has burned more than 1600 hectares.
More than 200,000 people have been forced to flee the area.
US president Donald Trump, who is currently in Paris to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, took to Twitter early Saturday morning to blame poor forest management for the fires currently laying ruin to the state.
“There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor,” he tweeted. “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!”
Trump’s ongoing tirade about alleged forest mismanagement in California has been challenged by California fire officials who argue the real culprit is climate change. In August, Trump erroneously blamed the state’s fires on “bad environmental laws which aren’t allowing massive amount of readily available water to be properly utilised.”
“The idea that there isn’t enough water is the craziest thing in the world,” Peter Gleick, president emeritus of the Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment, and Security in Oakland, told the Los Angeles Times in response. In spite of this, the president again made similar claims in October.
Updated 11/10/18, 7:15 p.m. ET: Officials from Los Angeles and Ventura counties confirmed two more deaths linked to the Woolsey Fire in the southern part of the state, bringing the total number of fatalities between the three wildfires to 11 total. The Woolsey Fire was still burning with zero containment as of Saturday evening.