‘Sad’ Trump visits fire-wracked California, blames mismanagement

Published November 18, 2018, 8:55 PM

by Francine Ciasico

By Agence France-Presse

President Donald Trump expressed sadness Saturday at the devastation caused by fires in a California town, but persisted in his controversial claim that forest mismanagement was responsible for the tragedy, which has killed 76 and left more than 1,200 listed as missing.

US President Donald Trump (C) hugged Paradise Mayor Jody Jones (2R) while surveying the remains of the California town of Paradise (AFP / MANILA BULLETIN)
US President Donald Trump (C) hugged Paradise Mayor Jody Jones (2R) while surveying the remains of the California town of Paradise (AFP / MANILA BULLETIN)

“This is very sad,” Trump said after surveying the remains of Paradise, where nearly the only people out on the road were emergency services workers, surrounded by the twisted remains of a community incinerated by the flames.

“They’re telling me this is not as bad as some areas; some areas are even beyond this, they’re just charred,” he added after looking at a street lined with melted cars, tree stumps and the foundations of wrecked houses.

The deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California’s history, the so-called Camp Fire, has now claimed 76 lives after authorities on Saturday confirmed five more victims.

The blaze has devoured an area roughly the size of Chicago, destroying nearly 10,000 homes and more than 2,500 other buildings.

In Chico, near Paradise, Trump met with firefighters and other first responders at a makeshift headquarters.

Senior fire officials recounted how quickly the blaze spread, complicating evacuation efforts, as Trump studied a huge map spread across a table showing where fires continue to burn.

Reviving an earlier controversy, Trump repeated his claim that California had mismanaged its forests and was largely to blame for the fires.

“I’m committed to make sure that we get all of this cleaned out and protected, (we’ve) got to take care of the forest, it’s very important,” Trump said in Paradise.

Days ago Trump threatened to cut federal funding to California over its alleged “gross mismanagement” of forests.

 
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