With 149,000 Californians Evacuated, Gov. Brown Tells the State to Pull Together as Fires Continue Burning
California Gov. Jerry Brown told the state’s residents to pull together as firefighters continue battling massive wildfires — including the deadly Camp and Woolsey fires.
With dry conditions expected to continue in the coming days, firefighting efforts will face challenges even as some evacuation orders have been lifted and blazes have reached higher containment, officials said.
There are currently 149,000 people evacuated from their homes in California. Fire engines and other resources have come in from several states, including Washington, Oregon, Montana, Texas and Idaho.
Across California, the death toll stands at 25, with 23 people losing their lives in the Camp Fire still burning in Butte County. That fire is currently 110,000 acres and just 25 percent contained. Meanwhile, the Woolsey Fire burning through Los Angeles and Ventura counties has claimed two lives.
That fire has burned through more than 83,000 acres and is just 10 percent contained.
At the news conference, emergency officials said the Hill Fire in Ventura County was where the most progress has been made. As the smallest of the three major blazes, it’s 4,531 acres and now 70 percent contained, authorities said.
Cal Fire Chief Ken Pimlott said the Woolsey Fire “continues to be a threat” — particularly for residents of Topanga Canyon and neighboring communities in L.A.
As Pimlott warned of continuing fire conditions, Brown said the state will have to prepare for a future of increased warmth and a climate that’s vulnerable to such disastrous blazes.
He also thanked those battling the flames on the ground.
“I want to thank all the firefighters,” Gov. Brown told reporters. “Everything who worked so hard under trying conditions.”
“This is truly a tragedy … we’re doing everything we can,” he said.
Earlier in the day, Brown requested a “major disaster declaration” from the president for the wildfires burning at both ends of the state.
Trump earlier issued an emergency declaration providing federal funds to help firefighters.
Brown’s office said in a statement Sunday that the “major disaster” declaration would bolster ongoing emergency assistance and help residents recover from fires burning in Butte, Los Angeles and Ventura counties.
“We have the best firefighters and first responders in the country working in some of the most difficult conditions imaginable. We’re putting everything we’ve got into the fight against these fires and this request ensures communities on the front lines get additional federal aid,” Brown said in a news release. “To those who have lost friends and family members, homes and businesses, know that the entire state is with you. As Californians, we are strong and resilient, and together we will recover.”
If granted, the declaration would make individuals eligible for crisis counseling, housing and unemployment help, and legal aid.
The Camp Fire in Northern California’s Butte County has killed 23 people and is the third-deadliest on record in the state.
Two people were found dead in Malibu on Friday, bringing the total number of deaths in California at 25 on Sunday, and appeared likely to rise.
Correction: A prior version of this story incorrectly stated the number of people evacuated and containment level of the Hill Fire. The post has since been updated.