President Donald Trump issued a major disaster declaration on Monday evening as the death toll in California’s still-raging wildfires continues to rise — the Camp Fire in the northern part of the state is now the deadliest in the state’s history, at 42 lives lost, as the Los Angeles Times and other outlets reported.
“I just approved an expedited request for a Major Disaster Declaration for the State of California,” the president said on Twitter on Monday night.
“Wanted to respond quickly in order to alleviate some of the incredible suffering going on. I am with you all the way.”
“God bless all of the victims and families affected,” the president’s tweet added.
I just approved an expedited request for a Major Disaster Declaration for the State of California. Wanted to respond quickly in order to alleviate some of the incredible suffering going on. I am with you all the way. God Bless all of the victims and families affected.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 13, 2018
New fires arose in suburban Thousand Oaks, where residents had been evacuated last week for a different fire.
Though the newly sparked blaze was quickly managed, officials say the risk remains high and residents should prepare to evacuate again if necessary, The Associated Press reported Tuesday morning.
Thousand Oaks, in northwestern Greater Los Angeles, is the location of the deadly shooting where a gunman killed 12 people at Borderline Bar & Grill less than a week ago.
Trump’s tweeted criticism over the weekend of California’s “gross mismanagement of the forests” — coupled with a threat of “no more fed payments” unless the state showed it would “remedy now” — was met with considerable blowback from political friends and foes alike.
There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor. 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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 10, 2018
The Camp Fire in Butte County’s Sierra Nevada foothills in northern California, which began last Thursday, has taken 42 lives thus far.
In the town of Paradise alone, officials estimate that more than 6,700 structures have been damaged or destroyed, according to The Enterprise-Record.
More than 90 first responders lost their own homes in the fire as police, firefighters, and others work to battle the blazes and get people to safety, the Sacramento Bee reported.
The Camp Fire, as of Monday night, is about 30 percent contained, CNN reported.
“We are closely working with CHP [California Highway Patrol], with the rangers, with the game wardens,” said Rachel Shackelford, a horse trainer volunteer leading efforts to rescue animals in Paradise, California, who joined host Laura Ingraham on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle” on Monday night.
“We’re out here wanting to make sure we are also safe, as well as the properties. So when we go in here and get these animals, then we can go ahead and bring them back to the volunteers and the other certified help that are working closely with the veterinarians to get the animals the care that they need so they can be reunited,” she added.
Shackelford explained that social media has been “amazing” in terms of helping achieve her mission.
The image below, by the way, may become one of the many utterly sad and iconic images of this destruction:
— marielle rob (@Shandi26Rob) November 13, 2018
Meanwhile, at the other end of the state, the Woolsey Fire in southern California’s Simi Valley in Los Angeles and Ventura counties has taken two lives and consumed more the 92,000 acres since it broke out on Thursday afternoon.
The Woolsey Fire has led to evacuations in the Malibu area, where many celebrities make their homes.
Lady Gaga, Kim Kardashian West, Rainn Wilson, and Alyssa Milano are among the celebrities who fled, Variety reported.
UPDATE: Still evacuated. We’ve been under mandatory evacuation since Thurs. We’re safe. House is still in jeopardy. Still no power. Still dealing with flare-ups.
— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) November 11, 2018
Miley Ray Cyrus and Gerard Butler shared word on Twitter about the loss of their homes.
Completely devestated by the fires affecting my community. I am one of the lucky ones. My animals and LOVE OF MY LIFE made it out safely & that’s all that matters right now. My house no longer stands but the memories shared with family & friends stand strong. I am grateful for
— Miley Ray Cyrus (@MileyCyrus) November 12, 2018
Returned to my house in Malibu after evacuating. Heartbreaking time across California. Inspired as ever by the courage, spirit and sacrifice of firefighters. Thank you @LAFD. If you can, support these brave men and women at https://t.co/ei7c7F7cZx. pic.twitter.com/AcBcLtKmDU
— Gerard Butler (@GerardButler) November 11, 2018
Robin Thicke and girlfriend April Love Geary’s Malibu home was destroyed, and the mansion for the TV series “The Bachelor” was partially burned as well.
The Woolsey Fire is only 20 percent contained as of Monday night, according to CNN.
The arrival of Santa Ana winds on Monday morning may cause the fire to spread erratically, the L.A. Times reported.
Firefighters’ primary focus at this time is to prevent embers jumping containment lines to stem a spread to Topanga Canyon, the outlet also added.
As of Monday night, more than 200 people are still missing in the fires and 52,000 remain evacuated, as Fox News correspondent Claudia Cowen reported on “Fox News @ Night.”
Michele Blood is a Flemington, New Jersey-based freelance writer and regular contributor to LifeZette. This article has been updated.