San Francisco, Nov 18 : US President Donald Trump said he hoped the Camp fire would be the last wildfire in California while visiting the state on Saturday,with California Governor Jerry Brown, whose government he accused days before of bad forest management.He earlier had threatened to withhold federal money because of what he deemed as state officials’ mismanagement.
“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 a mobile home park that was burned down in the deadliest US wildfire in a century.
“There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor,” Trump had said. “Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!”
The president has stirred resentment among survivors and many others over comments he made two days after the disaster on Twitter, then reiterated on the eve of his visit when he blamed poor forest management for the disaster.
Trump put aside his criticisms on Saturday and adopted a more conciliatory tone, noting the need for the federal and California governments to work together on the tasks of reconstruction and aid for the victims. He toured part of the burnt-out area with Brown himself, Efe reported.
“Nobody thought this could happen…We have to do management, maintenance. We’ll also be working with environmental groups. I think everybody’s seen the light,” the president said in a statement to the media.
Also accompanying Trump was the politician who will be Brown’s successor starting next January, the Democrat Gavin Newsom, along with Mayor Jody Jones of Paradise, a town of some 26,000 people that was completely engulfed in flames.
The death toll has risen to 76 after authorities recovered an additional five remains on Saturday in the town of Paradise and nearby communities.
According to the latest report, the Camp Fire, as the blaze has been dubbed, has caused at least 71 deaths, while more than 1,000 people are still missing and the fire has scorched 59,900 hectares (148,000 acres).
After visiting the region laid waste by the Camp Fire, Trump is heading for Southern Californis to tour the zone affected by another huge blaze, the Woolsey Fire, close to Los Angeles and where another three people have died.