California Wildfires Death Toll Rises to 23 as Authorities Step up Efforts to Find Dead

The death toll in the Camp Fire devastating Northern California has jumped up to 23, after authorities discovered the remains of 13 more people on Saturday night.

The Camp Fire has torched tens of thousands of acres in Butte County, California, and it is still spreading. On Saturday, the death toll stood at nine confirmed, with 35 more people missing. Late that night, Sheriff and Coroner Kory Honea told CNN about the new victims, bringing the total up to 23 dead.

According to Honea, seven people were found within homes and three were found outside in the town of Paradise, California. Paradise was completely leveled by the fires, with 90% of its structures reportedly destroyed. First responders gave up on beating the flames to focus on rescuing people instead.

The other four new victims were discovered in an area called Concow. Two were in houses, while two were in cars. The Camp Fire has already become the most destructive wildfire in the history of California or the country.

Saturday was actually an easy day for firefighters, according to reporters. The winds that have helped fuel and spread the flames died down for a while, giving first responders time to get in and assess the damage. Still, evacuation orders remain in place, and officials say that the winds are likely to return on Sunday.

"Mother Nature has given us a short reprieve ... but we know tomorrow Mother Nature's gonna turn her fan back on and the winds are going to start blowing," said Ventura County Fire Chief Mark Lorenzen. "Stay vigilant."

Ventura County is also suffering from the Woolsey Fire and the Hill Fire.

Even those who escaped the flames are struggling. The fires have displaced over 300,000 people across California through mass evacuations. Many of those people will not have homes to return to when the flames die down. Meanwhile, many are living in shelters, or else shelling out for hotels while they can.

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump has continued to post about the fires on Twitter, though many are condemning his tweets as insensitive to the victims. On Saturday morning, the president falsely claimed that California forestry agencies.

"There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor," he wrote. "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!"


In fact, as California Congressman Ted Lieu later pointed out, the fires are not forest fires. In addition, only 2 percent of the land affected is owned by the state, while the rest is managed by federal agencies that the Trump administration has neglected.

The president took a more sympathetic tone towards the victims on Sunday morning, after 24 hours of backlash. However, many speculated that the whole ordeal was just meant to distract from other stories, including his firing of the Attorney General last week or his controversial pro-Russia rhetoric during his trip to France this weekend.