CHICO, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on California’s wildfires (all times local):
California’s governor is expressing optimism that President Donald Trump will support the state as it deals with raging wildfires.
Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown said in an interview on CBS’ “Face the Nation” airing Sunday that the Republican president has “got our back” and has pledged to continue to help.
Trump initially blamed state officials for poor forest management in exacerbating the fires and threatened to cut off federal funding. He’s since signed an emergency declaration and toured the devastated areas Saturday with Brown and Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom.
Brown also suggested in the CBS interview that the wildfires will make believers of even the most ardent climate change skeptics “in less than five years” and that those living near forests might need to build underground shelters to protect them from wildfires going forward.
Pope Francis has prayed for victims of California’s wildfires and freezing weather on the U.S. East Coast.
Addressing tens of thousands of faithful in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican on Sunday, including pilgrims from New York and New Jersey, Francis prayed that “the Lord welcome the deceased into his peace, comfort family members and sustain all those involved in rescue efforts.”
Francis said he wanted to offer a “special prayer to all those stricken by the fires that are scourging California, and now also for the victims of the freeze of the east coast of the United States.”
At least 76 people perished, and hundreds are unaccounted for in the California wildfires. In the eastern U.S., an unusually early winter snowstorm last week was blamed for at least seven deaths.
Northern California crews battling the country’s deadliest wildfire in a century were bracing for wind gusts of up to 50 miles per hour that could erode gains they have made on a disaster that has killed at least 76 people.
Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said Saturday that deputies have located hundreds of people, but nearly 1,300 people remain unaccounted for.
He stressed that the roster includes duplicate names and names of people who haven’t reported that they are OK. He pleaded with fire evacuees to check the list.
The Camp Fire has destroyed nearly 10,000 homes since it sparked Nov. 8 and torched 233 square miles (600 square kilometers). It is 55 percent contained.
President Donald Trump surveyed wildfire damage at both ends of the state Saturday and pledged the federal government’s full support. Three people died in Southern California wildfires.