Wildfires rage in California; 31 dead, more than 200 missing

High winds hinder progress; death toll up

(RNN) - With three wildfires across the state of California only partially contained, fire crews are warning that high winds in coming days may cause the fires to spread.

Strong winds and low humidity are fueling the Camp Fire in Northern California and the Woolsey and Hill Fires in Southern California.

The death toll from the Camp Fire reached 23 on Saturday, making it the third deadliest fire in state history, according to the Associated Press. Eight more people were found dead on Sunday, bringing the total to 31.

Wildfires rage in California; at least 25 dead, more than 100 missing

More than 200 people are missing in Northern California, where the Camp Fire is already the most destructive fire in state history in terms of structure loss. The Associated Press reports the fire has destroyed nearly 7,000 homes, including most of the town of Paradise, where 16 of the 31 total victims are reported to have lived.

Statewide, CNN reports at least 300,000 people, more than half of those from Los Angeles, were forced from their homes.

Residents of Thousand Oaks, the site of a mass shooting that left 12 dead late Wednesday, were among those who fled the flames in addition to celebrities such as Martin Sheen, Kim Kardashian West, Scott Baio and Lady Gaga.

Charred cars littered the side of the road, and families became separated.

As of Saturday, the Camp Fire reached 111,000 acres, and at one point, it was growing more than a football field every second, according to CNN. The Woolsey Fire reached 85,000 acres, and the Hill Fire reached 4,500 acres.

Camp Fire crews save hospital

Most evacuation orders remain in place, as winds are expected to gust between 30 and 50 mph Sunday, according to CNN. Similar conditions contributed to the fires’ spread starting Thursday.

Acting Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency for Butte County in the north and for Los Angeles and Ventura Counties in the south.

Late Saturday, President Donald Trump urged residents via Twitter to listen to evacuation orders from state and local officials.

However, a tweet earlier Saturday prompted backlash from firefighters, politicians and celebrities after Trump threatened to withhold federal payments to California, unless the state took steps to remedy its “poor” forest management.

Trump has already granted the state’s request for a Presidential Emergency Declaration, which will dedicate federal resources toward assisting state and local emergency responders.

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