Death toll rises in California as Trump surveys wildfire damage
Nearly 1,300 are on a missing persons list.
The death toll from the Northern California wildfire has climbed to 76, while nearly 1,300 people remain unaccounted for.
Authorities said five more bodies were found on Saturday, including four in the decimated town of Paradise and one in nearby Concow.
Officials also raised the number of people on the missing persons list, hours after president Donald Trump surveyed what remained of a decimated community.
Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea pleaded with fire evacuees to check the list of people reported as unreachable by family and friends and to call in if they are safe.
Hundreds of people have already been located, but the overall number keeps growing because officials are adding names, including those reported as missing during the disaster’s chaotic early hours, he said.
“It’s really very important for you to take a look at the list and call us if you’re on the list,” he said.
Mr Trump toured the area on Saturday, joined by California’s outgoing and incoming governors, both Democrats who have traded sharp barbs with the Republican administration.
He also visited Southern California, where firefighters were making progress on a wildfire that tore through communities west of Los Angeles from Thousand Oaks to Malibu, killing three people.
The president pledged the full support of the federal government.
“We’ve never seen anything like this in California, we’ve never seen anything like this yet. It’s like total devastation,” Mr Trump said as he stood amid the ruins of Paradise.
Incredible to be with our GREAT HEROES today in California. We will always be with you! pic.twitter.com/B1MCTF83Zf— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 18, 2018
Firefighters are racing to get ahead of strong winds and low humidity expected on Sunday. Rain was forecast for mid-week, which could help firefighters but also complicate the search for remains.
Northern California’s Camp Fire has destroyed nearly 10,000 homes and torched 233 square miles. It is 55% contained.
The fire zone in Northern California is to some extent Trump country, and that enthusiasm was on display as dozens of people cheered and waved flags as his motorcade went by.
In Southern California, Trump also briefly met families and first responders touched by the shooting at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks more than a week ago.
Trump called the shooting at a country music bar, which left 12 dead, “a horrible, horrible event”.