California wildfire death toll reaches 71 as number missing rises to 1000


California's outgoing and incoming governors say they'll join President Donald Trump when he visits wildfire devastation in the state.

Over the last few days the number of people unaccounted for in the deadly Camp Fire in northern California has skyrocketed to more than 1,200.

President Trump's rhetoric on California's wildfires has been a source of consternation for some.

Paradise, the town in Butte County that was devastated by the wildfire, has an estimated population of about 27,000.

The blaze that started November 8 destroyed more than 9,800 homes.

According to a pool report Saturday, Trump said "no", when asked if the extensive fire damage in the state had changed his mind about global warming. Trump beat Hillary Clinton by four percentage points in Butte County in 2016.

Trump told reporters before he departed from the White House Saturday that during his visit to the areas that were ravaged by fires in the past week that he and local authorities would be "talking about forest management", seeming to suggest potential policy changes after discussions with California officials. "It's like total devastation", Mr Trump said as he stood amid the ruins of Paradise.

"To see what's happened here", he said, "nobody would've ever thought this could have happened".

"We do have to do management, maintenance and we'll be working also with environmental groups". The declaration evoked his initial tweeted reaction to the fire in which he seemed to blame local officials and threatened to take away federal funding. The president has signed a major disaster and emergency declaration, which provides federal aid.

"We're going to have that, and we're going to have forests that are very safe, because we can't go through this every year".

And in an interview taped Friday to be aired on Fox News Sunday, Trump claimed that "you wouldn't have the fire" if the work of raking certain dry vegetation had been done ahead of time.

In southern California, more residents were being allowed back into their homes near Los Angeles after a fire torched an area the size of Denver, destroying more than 600 homes and leaving at least three people dead.

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Trump has said state forest mismanagement is to blame for the wildfires.

Paul Briones, a firefighter from Bakersfield, predicted Trump's visit would be a huge boost to the community, showing "that this on a national level is a priority".

In a nod to his belief - not shared by all forest scientists - that improved forest management practices will diminish future risks, Trump added: "I think everybody's seen the light and I don't think we'll have this again to this extent".

Authorities said 47,200 people had been evacuated because of the fire and almost 1,200 were living in shelters.

However officials are informing the public, the list of missing people is fluid, and could easily contain duplicate names, after the list hit a thousand names Friday night.

"We are still receiving calls".

"When we arrived at the hospital there were already flames, and all of a sudden the urgency just skyrocketed", he said. "This is a massive undertaking".

Hundreds of evacuees were being housed in 14 emergency shelters set up in churches, schools and community centres around the region, with more than 46,000 people remaining under evacuation orders, authorities said. Brown said it may be the worst disaster in California's history.

The difficulties in keeping track of who are actually missing, then, are obvious - and communication problems are compounding these further.

"I want a great climate", he said. "Hopefully this is going to be the last one of these, because this was a really, really bad one". She needed a walker for her elderly mother and tags for her auto. The home had burned down to its concrete foundation.

"Paradise is not gone", Jody Jones said, citing a friend's Facebook post.