California Wildfires Death Toll Rises to 9

The death toll in the wildfire raging through California right now has risen to nine people, according to the Associated Press.

Local sheriffs' offices have reported a total of nine dead in the Camp Fire, as authorities have named it. According to CBS News, more deaths could be reported in the future as firefighters and other first responders struggle to tally the evacuees and put out the blaze.

The fires are moving through heavily populous areas, and fire fighters say there is not much they can do to mitigate the damage. The city of Thousand Oaks, where a shooting left 12 people dead last week is in danger, as is the celebrity getaway of Malibu. Captain Scott McLean of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said that some of the worst damage was in Paradise, California.

"There was really no fire-fight involved," he said candidly. "Pretty much the community of Paradise is destroyed. It's that kind of devastation."

Rather than making futile attempts to quash the flames, fire fighters in Paradise focused on getting people out alive.

Meanwhile, evacuation orders were given all over the state. Thousand Oaks mayor Andy Fox noted that three-quarters of the city was told to leave, making it almost certain that people still grappling with the trauma of the shooting are now being forced headlong into a new predicament.

The Camp fire is about 5% contained, having burned up 90,000 acres of land. In addition to the nine fatalities, 35 people are still missing. About 52,000 people have been evacuated, and 1,385 of them are reportedly in shelters at this time. Elsewhere in the state, the Woolsey fire has torched 35,000 acres in Ventura County, and has not been contained at all. About 200,000 people have been evacuated for safety.

The Hill fire is also burning up Ventura County, though it is the least dangerous of the three. Fire fighters have given optimistic predictions on this blaze, which is now 15% contained. The Hill fire has taken about 4,500 acres.

Wild fires have been a seemingly endless threat on the west coast this year, though these are destructive enough to land them back in the headlines. In addition, the president addressed the fires in a tweet on Saturday morning.


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

As many have pointed out, the president's tweets mischaracterize the fires, which are not "forest fires."