The survivors of Paradise aren’t the only ones with a story to tell about the fire that destroyed their town.
Buried within the harrowing tales of escape and heart-wrenching loss suffered by Paradise’s 27,000 residents, among the charred Ponderosa pines and scorched rubble, are clues to what transpired when a small fire broke out nearby on the morning of Nov. 8 and swallowed the town in a matter of hours.
While thousands of firefighters currently battle the Camp fire in Butte County and hundreds of law enforcement officers search for human remains among the ruins, it’s up a few dozen California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection investigators to read what the forest — and the buildings both standing and destroyed within it — has to tell them about why the Camp fire chose to destroy what it did that day.
President Trump arrived in Northern California at about 10 a.m. Saturday to tour areas ravaged by the Camp fire.
Trump was met at Beale Air Force Base in Yuba County by Gov. Jerry Brown and Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom.
In a tweet earlier Saturday morning, the president said he would be accompanied by California Reps. Kevin McCarthy, Doug LaMalfa and Ken Calvert and meet with firefighters who battled the 148,000-acre fire.
President Trump landed at Beale Air Force Base in Yuba County on Saturday before heading to Butte County to tour the devastation from the Camp fire.
Trump will tour fire-ravaged areas in and around the community of Paradise in Northern California before heading to Southern California in the afternoon. The Camp and Woolsey fires combined have killed more than 70 people, burned more than 250,000 acres and destroyed more than 10,000 structures. More than a thousand people are still reported as missing.
“Many more people are missing than anyone thought possible,” Trump said before departing for California. “I want to be with the firefighters and the FEMA first responders.”
Smoke from the Camp fire in Paradise will continue to flow into the Sacramento Valley and San Francisco Bay Area. A “slight improvement” is possible by the afternoon and evening, according to the National Weather Service.
Since the blaze broke out last week, communities in the Sacramento Valley and Bay Area — including Chico, Oroville and Sacramento — have had some of the dirtiest air in the world, according to Purple Air, an air quality-monitoring network.
As classes at Oaks Christian School are canceled until after the Thanksgiving holiday, teachers help Seminole Springs mobile home park resident and homeowners association President Paulette Koenig sift through the remains of her home for a treasured jade heart that belonged to her grandmother.
Greg Gillis-Smith, Rich Gregory and Marcus Choi are teachers at Oaks Christian School who responded to a call for volunteers from Upper Ojai Relief, a community-led project to help the victims of the Thomas fire.
President Trump and Gov. Jerry Brown are pledging the work together to help California in the wake of devastating wildfires, with the president scheduled to tour burn areas Saturday.
Brown and Trump have clashed on numerous policies including immigration and climate change. And Trump was roundly criticized last week for erroneously blaming the fires on poor forest management and threatening to cut off funding to California.
But on Friday, Brown said on Twitter that he and Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom would meet with Trump during his visit.
The death toll from California’s worst fire rose to 71 on Friday, with more than 1,000 people still unaccounted for.
The number of missing rose by nearly 400 since Thursday night. But officials said that there might be duplications on the list and that some of those listed might be alive but simply have not checked in with the people who reported them missing.
The remains of eight additional people were found Friday.