Donald Trump said he hoped the Camp fire would be the last wildfire in California while visiting the state on Saturday, as confusion continued over how many people remain unaccounted for.
“Hopefully this is going to be the last one of these because it was a really, really bad one,” Trump said while standing with California politicians in an RV and mobile home park that was burned down in the deadliest US wildfire in a century.
“Right now we want to take care of the people who have been so badly hurt,” Trump said.
The death toll has risen to 76 after authorities recovered an additional five remains on Saturday in the town of Paradise and nearby communities. Four remains were found in structures in Paradise, one was found outside in Concow. Officials also released the name of another victim: Lolene Rios, 56, of Paradise.
Authorities expect the death toll will grow, and have warned evacuees that when they return they could come upon remains that officials missed.
Several hundred workers have swept Paradise and other badly damaged communities for human remains since the fire began 8 November. The blaze has incinerated Paradise, population 27,000, and heavily damaged the outlying communities of Magalia and Concow.
“No system is perfect,” the Butte county sheriff, Kory Honea, said. “It is a daunting task … This is an expansive area.”
As of late on Saturday, 1,276 people remained “unaccounted for” – an increase from Friday. But, Honea reported, since the fire began authorities have found 714 people previously considered missing or unaccounted for.
Meanwhile, firefighters continue to battle the blaze, which covers an area of about 600 square kilometres (149,000 acres).
A red flag warning was in effect on Saturday evening through to Sunday morning due to high winds and low humidity. Those winds were expected to improve the air quality in the area.
Rain is in the forecast next week, which Cal Fire said would help suppress the fire.
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