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US President declares disaster over deadly California wildfire

07:25  03 january  2018
07:25  03 january  2018 Source:   ap.org

Largest California fire not expected to spread as winds subside

  Largest California fire not expected to spread as winds subside The largest wildfire in California history was not expected to spread on Sunday with light winds forecast, officials said. The Thomas Fire that began northwest of Los Angeles on Dec. 4 has burned 273,400 acres (110,641 hectares), the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) said, bigger than the size of New York City. The latest figure is unchanged since Friday.Winds are expected to be lighter than 10 miles per hour, Cal Fire said. The fire was 70 percent contained, unchanged from Saturday.The cause was still not known.

VENTURA, Calif. — President Donald Trump on Tuesday declared a major disaster in California over a wildfire that destroyed more than 1,000 buildings as fierce winds whipped it through Ventura and Santa Barbara counties last month.

(AP) — President Donald Trump on Tuesday declared a major disaster in California over a wildfire that destroyed more than 1,000 buildings as fierce winds After a flight over the devastated area on Tuesday, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen M. Nielsen said the president ’s

FILE - In this Dec. 6, 2017, file photo, a motorists on Highway 101 watches flames from the Thomas fire leap above the roadway north of Ventura, Calif. President Donald Trump has declared a major disaster in California over a wildfire that destroyed more than 1,000 buildings. The White House announced Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018, that the president has granted disaster status, which will help make federal funds available to supplement recovery efforts in the wake of the Thomas Fire that ravaged Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. (AP Photo/Noah Berger, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this Dec. 6, 2017, file photo, a motorists on Highway 101 watches flames from the Thomas fire leap above the roadway north of Ventura, Calif. President Donald Trump has declared a major disaster in California over a wildfire that destroyed more than 1,000 buildings. The White House announced Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018, that the president has granted disaster status, which will help make federal funds available to supplement recovery efforts in the wake of the Thomas Fire that ravaged Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. (AP Photo/Noah Berger, File)

VENTURA, Calif. — President Donald Trump on Tuesday declared a major disaster in California over a wildfire that destroyed more than 1,000 buildings as fierce winds whipped it through Ventura and Santa Barbara counties last month.

Alarming failures left many in path of California wildfires vulnerable and without warning

  Alarming failures left many in path of California wildfires vulnerable and without warning The Sonoma ridgeline was a sunrise of flame as Sgt. Brandon Cutting led deputies up country roads to pound on doors, hollering "Sheriff's Office!"

President Donald Trump declared a major disaster from the California wildfires on Monday night, making federal emergency funds more readily available in the stricken counties. California has endured two of its worst wildfire seasons in recorded history in the past two years, which experts attribute in

(AP) — President Donald Trump on Tuesday declared a major disaster in California over a wildfire that destroyed more than 1,000 buildings as fierce The disaster declaration means the federal government may cover 75 percent of those costs and the costs of recovering from the blaze, such as

The declaration makes federal funding available to state and local governments and some nonprofit organizations for emergency work in those counties and statewide for work to reduce hazards related to the fire, according to a White House statement.

The Thomas fire that began on Dec. 4 is the largest recorded in the state. It was 92 percent contained on Tuesday. Firefighters were still putting out hot spots and smoldering areas.

The fire covered more than 440 square miles (1,140 sq. kilometers), killed two people, destroyed entire neighborhoods, threatened coastal foothill communities, ravaged wilderness areas and cast a pall of smoke that shuttered businesses in downtown Santa Barbara.

Firefighting costs alone have approached $200 million.

California storm: Cars swept away, body pinned against home

  California storm: Cars swept away, body pinned against home LOS ANGELES — In the dark of night, Thomas Tighe saw two vehicles slowly being swept away by a river of mud and debris flowing down the road in front of his house in Montecito, California. Daybreak brought a more jarring scene: a body pinned against his neighbor's home by a wall of muck.Tighe is CEO of Direct Relief, a Santa Barbara, California-based charitable organization that helps disaster victims. This time, the disaster was "literally in my backyard, and front yard," he said by phone from Montecito, about 90 miles (145 kilometers) northwest of Los Angeles.The scene left Tighe shaken.

VENTURA, Calif. (AP) — President Donald Trump on Tuesday declared a major disaster in California over a wildfire that destroyed more than 1,000 buildings as fierce winds whipped it

President Trump on Tuesday declared a major disaster over a wildfire that destroyed more than 1,000 buildings as fierce winds whipped it After a flight over the devastated area on Tuesday, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen M. Nielsen said the president 's declaration will

The disaster declaration means the federal government may cover 75 percent of those costs and the costs of recovering from the blaze, such as removing vast amounts of debris in fire-denuded areas that could be hit with flash floods and debris flows if winter rains arrive.

After a flight over the devastated area on Tuesday, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen M. Nielsen said the president's declaration will help with rebuilding from the fire, which burned more than 700 homes along with other buildings.

"Seeing the devastation, I'm deeply moved," she said. "My heart goes out to the survivors. We met with some of them today."

On Wednesday, she was expected to visit Santa Rosa in Sonoma County. Wildfires in October swept through Sonoma, Napa and other counties in and around wine country, killing 44 people and destroying more than 5,000 homes. Insured damages alone topped $9 billion.

Trump already approved a major disaster declaration for California for that wildfire.

Gov. Jerry Brown requested the same declaration last month for San Diego, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties as devastating fires swept the state.

"It is expected many of the survivors in the impacted communities will have no insurance coverage or be underinsured," Brown's request said. "Even for those survivors who have insurance coverage, major challenges remain to obtain temporary housing and attempt to rebuild their lives."

Although Tuesday's declaration only covers Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, "damage assessments are continuing in other areas, and more counties and additional forms of assistance may be designated after the assessments are fully completed," the White House statement said.

Rescuers search Montecito as time runs out for those missing in huge mudslides .
In hard hats and gloves, the rescuers inched along the west side of Montecito Creek on Thursday, looking for signs of people buried in the rubble. A resident holds a family photo retrieved from a home that was destroyed by a mudslide on Jan. 11 in Montecito, California.

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