Trump visits SoCal on tour of wildfire devastation

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CHICO, Calif. -- President Donald Trump visited California Saturday to get a firsthand look at the devastation of the state's two deadly wildfires.

In the morning, Trump walked through the burned-out town of Paradise, where many breathing-mask-wearing onlookers stood by the road taking photos. Accompanying Trump were Gov. Jerry Brown and Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom.

"We're all going to work together and we'll do a real job, but this is very sad to see," Trump said.

More than 1,000 people are unaccounted for and thousands of survivors are living in cars and tents as California's deadliest wildfire enters a second week.

"It is overwhelming, I don't have any word to describe it," Butte County Sheriff and Coroner Kory Honea told CNN on Saturday. "This is unprecedented. No one has had to deal with this magnitude that caused so much destruction and regrettably so much death."

With the Camp Fire's death toll now at 71, the list of those missing from the fire zone has grown to 1,011 names, though that may change after authorities follow up with families, officials cautioned. The deadliest and most destructive wildfire in state history, the Camp Fire has destroyed more than 9,800 homes and scorched 148,000 acres since starting November 8. It was 55% contained as of Saturday morning.

Meanwhile, three deaths have been reported in the Woolsey Fire in Southern California, bringing the statewide death toll from the wildfires to 74.

Trump landed at Point Mugu Naval Air Station near Oxnard shortly after 3 p.m. to tour the areas devastated by Woolsey.

He then held a press conference with Newsom and Brown in Malibu. At the briefing he repeated his calls for better "forest management" to mitigate wildfires in the state. Asked by a reporter if climate change could also be considered a factor, Trump said his administration would consider "everything."

Next the President headed to Thousand Oaks, where the community was affected not only by wildfires but by the mass shooting at Borderline Bar this month. Trump met with victims of that attack early Saturday evening before leaving the state.

"It was a tough thing to do," Trump said before boarding his plane at Point Mugu to leave the state. "This has been a tough day when you look at all the death from one place to the next."

Asked what he would to address future mass shootings, Trump said his administration is "working on lots of different things," but did not discuss policies in any more detail.

President Donald Trump looks on with Governor of California Jerry Brown (R) and Lieutenant Governor of California, Gavin Newsom, as they view damage from wildfires in Paradise, California. Trump arrived in California to meet with officials, victims and the "unbelievably brave" firefighters there. He headed to Southern California late Saturday afternoon.
(Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

'A lot of people don't know ... we're looking for them'

Even as the list of those missing in the Camp Fire has ballooned, it's hard to tell exactly how many people truly are lost, officials have said.

"That is raw data we're collecting from phone calls, emails and the 911 system," Honea said Saturday. "It's not perfect data, but our thought process is that it's better to get that information out to help start getting people accounted for. So rather than wait for perfection, we're trying to get some progress going."

Hundreds of deputies, National Guard troops, coroners and anthropologists are sifting through leveled homes and mangled cars for remains.

Some who may have evacuated can't be reached because cell phone service is unreliable, while others haven't reached out to relatives, Honea said earlier this week. Many may not know someone is searching for them.

"I want you to understand that there are a lot of people displaced, and we're finding that a lot of people don't know that we're looking for them," he said.

If people find their own or loved ones' names on the list at the Butte County Sheriff's Office's website, they should call the sheriff's office, Honea said.

In the midst of despair, hope remains. The mayor of Paradise told CNN Saturday that she is committed to rebuilding her town, as is the town council.

"Paradise is not gone," Jody Jones said, citing a friend's Facebook post. "It's just closed for remodeling."

Here's how you can help those affected by the California wildfires

'I see flashbacks of the fire'

A week after her family narrowly escaped as the Camp Fire closed in on Paradise, Whitney Vaughan said she feels like giving up.

Everything she and her husband, Grady, own is gone, along with a home they were renting, "a quirky older house with lots of character and lots of room" for their six children, she said.

The children can stay with relatives, but she and her husband have nowhere to go, Vaughan said.

"So, now we are homeless, have no money, are trying to find a place," Vaughan said. "There are just too many people in the same situation. ... This fire has changed us in ways I can never explain."

3 deaths in Southern California

The Woolsey Fire burning in Southern California has destroyed 836 structures in Los Angeles and Ventura counties, Cal Fire said.

More than 98,000 acres have been burned since the blaze began November 8, while evacuees remain in shelters, and portions of Malibu and nearby areas must be rebuilt, officials said. It was 82% contained on Saturday morning, Cal Fire reported.

Impact Your World: How you can help the fire victims

"Resources will continue to mop up and patrol. Fire suppression repair teams are actively engaged working around the fire perimeter and affected areas," the agency said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Cal Fire reported some improvement in smoke levels regionally Saturday, but the air was still in the very unhealthy range.

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