California Wildfires: Town Of Paradise Will Need ‘Total Rebuild’

The director of the US emergency agency says a California town ravaged by wildfire will need a “total rebuild” job that will take several years.

California Wildfires

Brock Long, administrator of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), said the damage to Paradise was “one of the worst disasters” he had ever seen.

So far 56 people have been found dead in the Camp Fire that hit the town, but 130 more remain missing.

About 9,000 firefighters are currently battling wildfires across the state.

At a news briefing on Wednesday by officials, the director of California’s fire service said “progress is being made” to contain the blazes.

“I want to just reiterate we continue to have a lot of work to do we will continue to be here, we will get this done until the job is over,” Ken Pimlott said.

In a Tweet on Wednesday, President Donald Trump said he has been briefed on the situation by Mr Long and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who are both currently on the ground in California.

So far 7,600 residences are known to have been destroyed by the fire, as well as hundreds of commercial properties.

Governor Brown, who was touring the area on Wednesday, described it as looking like a “war zone”.

“Paradise had done a lot of pre-planning for just this kind of an emergency but the fire of course was unprecedented, overwhelming and so a lot of people got caught,” he said.

What about the other fires?

A number of fires continue to burn and officials at Wednesday’s press conference warned the risk of more is far from over.

Mr Pimlott, the director of CalFire, said there remained a “critical” risk of blazes for the next week because of how dry vegetation is.

“Right now we are focused on maintaining the pace and the battle rhythm of this firefight across the state,” he said.

He said “good progress” was being made on the Woolsey Fire that has damaged beach resorts, including the rich-and-famous haunt of Malibu.

Officials confirmed on Wednesday morning that a third victim from that fire had been discovered – meaning 59 people are now known to have died across the state.

The Woolsey Fire is still burning across more than 97,000 acres but is 47% contained, the state fire service tweeted.

Some areas affected are now considered safe, and the Los Angeles County police say they will now allow some people back into the city of Calabasas.

The smaller Hill Fire, is 94% contained in Ventura County, north of Los Angeles.

A new wind-driven fire began menacing San Bernardino County homes on Tuesday – but that has been being largely contained by local officials.

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