Bão lửa ở Cali/US-Số người chết gia tăng -Tổng Thống(Cộng Hoà) Trump và Thống Đốc Brown(Dân chủ) đổ lõi cho nhau.LA TIMES

LOS ANGELES TIMES

Camp fire death toll grows to 56 as grim search for the dead continues

By NICOLE SANTA CRUZ , DAKOTA SMITH  and JOSEPH SERNANOV 14, 2018 | 6:25 PM| PARADISE, CALIF.  

David Neeley hugs his ex-wife Jeanne Neely and their daughter, Faith Neeley, 10, in a parking lot in Oroville, where they are staying amid the Camp fire. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)1 / 20

The grim search for victims of California’s deadliest fire continued Wednesday as firefighters made progress in containing the Camp fire that burned the town of Paradise.

The fire has killed at least 56 people, destroyed more than 10,300 structures and scorched 138,000 acres in Butte County. It was 35% contained as of Wednesday evening, according to California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection officials.

Firefighters will continue to strengthen containment lines throughout the day and keep an eye out for hot spots in the area, Cal Fire said. Air tankers were preparing to drop retardant in the fire’s path to impede its progress, officials said.

Track key details of the California wildfires »

Crews Tuesday were working to build up defenses around the town of Cherokee near the Feather River and Stirling City, northeast of Paradise and Magalia, which were both devastated by the Camp fire.

At a Paradise Town Council meeting that evening, Steve Crowder, an incoming councilman and business owner, said he helped direct traffic out of town when the fire broke out and said there were moments he didn’t know if he’d make it out alive.

Mayor Jody Jones sternly defended the town’s evacuation plan after a community member was critical.

“It wasn’t perfect,” Jones said. “But it worked. It was chaos, but it was sort of organized chaos.”

These are the victims of the California wildfires

NOV 14, 2018 | 5:50 PM

Before the meeting, city staff, residents and council members embraced, talking about what was lost in the fire. “How you holding up?” they asked one another. Every council member had lost his or her home.

Lauren Gill, the town manager, told the council she had toured the town. Her voice shook at times as she described the devastation and the massive effort that will be required to clean and rebuild it.

“People are working day and night to make this recovery happen as soon as they can,” she said. “None of us have really even had time to mourn.”

As Gill spoke, people listened with tear-streaked faces in the audience of about two dozen residents.

Authorities said they were still investigating what caused the blaze. People who lost homes have sued Pacific Gas & Electric Co., accusing the utility of negligence and blaming it for the fire. More than two dozen fire victims said the utility did not maintain its infrastructure and failed to properly inspect and manage its power transmission lines.

Amid the wreckage, search teams continued to sift through rubble and ash. The search for the dead relied on portable devices that can identify someone’s genetic material in a couple of hours, rather than days or weeks.

6:25 p.m.: This article was updated with a new death toll.

6:05 p.m.: This article was updated with new fire figures.

This article was originally published at 7:45 a.m.

Third body found among wreckage of Woolsey fire as residents blast officials about emergency response

By MATT HAMILTON , HANNAH FRY , RICHARD WINTON  and JAVIER PANZARNOV 14, 2018 | 6:30 PM  

Third body found among wreckage of Woolsey fire as residents blast officials about emergency response
Los Angeles County coroner’s workers recover a body at a burned home in the 32000 block of Lobo Canyon Road in Agoura Hills on Wednesday. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

As a third body was discovered among the ashes of a home in Agoura Hills, residents in nearby Malibu questioned fire officials about the division of resources and rushed evacuation notices during the Woolsey fire’s devastating march through Los Angeles and Ventura counties.

The body, which has not been identified, was found by a cadaver dog searching a burned-out home in the 32000 block of Lobo Canyon Road with law enforcement Tuesday. The remains were found on an enclosed patio or what could have been a bedroom, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Lt. Derrick Alfred of the Homicide Bureau said.

The block is on a winding road nestled among charred hillsides directly in the path of the fire as it burned southwest across Paramount Ranch and down the hills that surround Kanan Road.

Alfred said deputies from the Lost Hills station along with Malibu Search and Rescue conducted an extensive search of the home Tuesday but initially didn’t find the body amid the ruins. That’s when authorities called in a dog to search.

“It was virtually impossible for any deputy to find those remains,” he said.

The home belonged to a 70-year-old man who lived alone and has been reported missing by relatives, according to authorities.

The remains of two other bodies considered fire-related deaths were found in a charred car on Mulholland Highway in Malibu last week.

As more residents in Malibu and Calabasas were allowed to return home Wednesday and firefighters continued making progress — the fire was 52% contained — questions remain over how authorities responded to the blaze.

At a town hall Tuesday night, Malibu residents pressed officials for answers about why some homes weren’t saved and chastised them for wasting time with platitudes instead of updating residents.

“Could we please have some information?” one resident repeatedly shouted. “No more cheerleading. Information!”

Firefighters knew they were in for a tough battle early Friday as the fast-moving blaze jumped the 101 Freeway and tore through dense brush toward Malibu with 70 mph winds bearing down. The fire stretched 14 miles on its front as it entered Liberty Canyon at Agoura Road, cresting the mountains and chewing up fuel as it sped toward the sea.

Evacuees fear the worst for family and friends left behind in Paradise

The inferno quickly swept through the coastal city, leaving a path of destruction in its wake. People fled along congested Pacific Coast Highway as flames engulfed home after home, leaving nothing but rubble and a few charred remnants of normalcy.

The fire, which had burned 98,362 acres as of Wednesday night, has decimated an estimated 504 structures — a number that is expected to grow in the coming days as crews continue to assess damage.

Richard Bloom, a state assemblyman who represents Malibu and neighboring communities, said that in every major fire, questions arise about the deployment of resources.

“Why were they here and not here? These are important questions. They deserve answers. The responses are never quite perfect,” Bloom said. “What you’re looking for is coverage everywhere, which is virtually impossible given the limitations of resources.”

L.A. County Deputy Fire Chief Dave Richardson told residents that the agency had resources in place as the fire broke out, with more than 300 county firefighters and over a dozen strike teams, but the speed of the flames quickly made the fire a life-safety issue. They decided to evacuate residents, but some who were trapped in their homes by the raging conflagration called 911 seeking help.

“Life is our No. 1 priority,” Richardson said. “We divert resources from protecting your structures to go get people out.”

In response to questions about the deployment of resources and why there weren’t more fire engines defending homes, Richardson pointed to historical data mapping. He said the blaze is larger and more destructive than recent fires in the area.

“I’ve been in the business for over 32 years. I have never … seen fire activity and the fire spread that we’ve seen. That’s the reality. Our firefighters were out there putting their life on the line to protect you and the communities,” Richardson said.

But he said resources for the Woolsey fire also have been limited.

Los Angeles County coroner's workers on the scene where a body was found at a burned home in the 32000 block of Lobo Canyon Road in Agoura Hills.
Los Angeles County coroner’s workers on the scene where a body was found at a burned home in the 32000 block of Lobo Canyon Road in Agoura Hills. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

“With the wind, the dry fuel, the vegetation and due to competing needs … due to the fires in Northern California and northern Ventura County, it tasked us,” he said. “It was quite the challenge.”

Citing the loss of lives, destruction of property and widespread evacuations caused by the Woolsey fire, the county Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to proclaim an emergency in Los Angeles County and asked Gov. Jerry Brown to do the same. They also declared a local health emergency and ordered that no debris be removed without a hazardous materials inspection.

The ordinarily humdrum government proceedings were punctuated by the appearance of celebrity residents, who appeared to ask for food, water, gas and shelter in the aftermath of the fire, as well as assistance in rebuilding.

“I have witnessed many fires in my community and experienced the devastation … but none as catastrophic as the events that have taken place in our community these last five days and nights,” actor Pierce Brosnan said. “We beseech you to do everything in your power to save our community.”

Several residents complained about not getting timely notices to evacuate and instead heard about evacuation orders from friends across the county. Others said there were not enough firefighting resources, leaving Malibu residents to fend for themselves.

“The Fire Department has been depleted. They are not fully resourced — and that’s on you guys,” Paul Morra said. “We lost 19 homes in Corral Canyon. Not one engine was up there, and we had no water. No water. And that needs to be investigated.”

Times staff writers Nina Agrawal and Sonali Kohli contributed to this report.

6:30 p.m.: This article was updated with current statistics about the size and containment of the fire.

4:20 p.m.: This article has been updated with additional details on the third fire victim.

1:30 p.m.: This article was updated with information about a third victim of the fire.

This article was originally published at 9:50 a.m.

Trump and Brown stir up rhetoric on wildfires but overlook pressing problems

By BETTINA BOXALLNOV 14, 2018 | 4:00 AM  

Trump and Brown stir up rhetoric on wildfires but overlook pressing problems
Helicopters drop water along the North Fork of the Feather River outside Pulga, Calif., where the Camp fire may have started. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

President Trump took to Twitter to blame bad forest management. Gov. Jerry Brown pointed to climate change.

Their arguments about the cause of disastrous wildfires roaring across the state have turned a California catastrophe into the latest political cudgel in the ongoing slugfest between Washington and Sacramento.

Both leaders are in a sense promoting their political agendas. In Trump’s case, that is an attack on environmental regulations. In Brown’s, it is a call to arms to slow global warming.

But as is often the case with political rhetoric, reality is far more complicated.

The Trump-Brown exchange ignores what many experts consider core reasons for fire’s escalating toll: Humans keep sparking them, and Californians keep building in high-fire zones prone to the fierce winds that inevitably drive the state’s most calamitous blazes.

In a tweet in the wee hours of Saturday, Trump framed a lack of logging as the sole cause.

“There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor,” Trump tweeted after the Camp fire — the deadliest wildfire in modern state history — leveled much of the Sierra Nevada foothills town of Paradise.

“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!” Trump declared.California fires live updates »

The next day, Brown called the firestorms that have flared from Paradise to Malibu the “new abnormal” that threaten Californians’ way of life.

“Managing all the forests everywhere we can, does not stop climate change,” Brown said. “And those who deny that definitely are contributing to the tragedies that we are witnessing and will continue to witness.”

Char Miller, director of environmental analysis at Pomona College, sees the comments “as a conversation between two pit bulls.”

“What we’ve got” from Trump is that “forest management is bad and California is suffering and that serves them right,” Miller said. “And Brown goes for … the higher ground — if we’re thinking of climatic issues — but it doesn’t actually solve anything on the ground.”

David Neeley hugs his ex-wife Jeanne Neely and their daughter, Faith Neeley, 10, in a parking lot in Oroville, where they are staying amid the Camp fire. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)1 / 20

What’s missing in this politicization of wildfire, Miller said, is a vital question. “Why is it that at the county, city, town level, we have repeatedly green-lit development in areas that we know are fire zones?

“Whether it is to allow a rock star to build on a ridgeline in Malibu or a manufactured-home community that nestles into the foothills, the decision is the same and the consequences are the same.People who have been routed out of their houses have lost their possessions, and many people have lost their lives.”

This is not the first time Western wildfires have became a political football. President George W. Bush’s administration pushed more commercial logging in national forests after huge wildfires erupted in federal forests in the West in the early 2000s.

But with his wildfire tweets, Trump is once again breaking old boundaries.

“I’ve been following these issues for 40 years, and I don’t remember a time when the issue of wildfire has ever been politicized anywhere close to the extent it is now,” said Richard Frank, director of the California Environmental Law and Policy Center at UC Davis.

“Trump’s tweets and comments on the subject are completely uninformed,” he said. “To attempt to make political points in the middle of calamitous public disasters of wildfires of the type and extent we’ve never seen in recorded California history is not helpful, to say the least.”

Overgrown forests — the result of a century of fire suppression as well as past logging that cleared the way for dense young stands of trees — pose a heightened wildfire threat in some parts of the Sierra Nevada.

But that has not played a role in the string of wildfires that is exacting a horrific toll on life and property in California.

The conflagrations have mostly seared oak woodlands, chaparral and grass. Although Paradise is near forestland, the wind-whipped Camp fire tore across areas that burned in 2008 lightning fires and were also later logged. It is not fueled by heavy timber.

At the same time, fire scientists say Brown’s emphasis on climate change is too narrow.

“The way I think most scientists see it is that climate change is exacerbating this situation. It’s making it worse. But it is by no means the primary cause,” said Jon Keeley, a fire ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey.

In Southern California, he pointed to human-related ignitions and drought, which left masses of dead shrubs to fuel flames.

“What’s big in Southern California is whether or not somebody starts a fire during a Santa Ana wind event. And if they do it after seven years of drought, it’s way worse,” he said.

Track key details of the California wildfires »

The cause of the wind-driven Woolsey blaze that has scorched nearly 100,000 acres in the Santa Monica Mountains and incinerated more than 400 homes has not been determined. Nor has one been given for the Camp fire. But in both cases, anomalies with utility lines have been reported around the time flames were first spotted.

Keeley’s research found that from Sonoma County to San Diego, 99% of the wildfires in coastal California have human-related causes, whether that be downed power lines, sparking equipment or weed whacking during hot, windy weather.

The state should focus on where people build and reducing fire starts, particularly from downed power lines, Keeley said. “We need a fire zone where people are not allowed to build in areas that are hazardous,” he said.

Similarly, UC Berkeley fire scientist Scott Stephens said that although climate change is playing a role in wildfire growth, he worries that a focus on global warming can leave the public thinking that “there’s really nothing to be done.”

In fact, he said, “Communities could still be better prepared.”

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