The grim task of recovering and identifying the victims of California's apocalyptic wildfires began on Sunday as officials raised the death toll to 25 with more than 100 people unaccounted for.
Smoldering debris, skeletons of cars with melted glass, a cat with a singed, soot-covered coat: ravaged by the most destructive fire to hit California, Paradise is now a ghost town.
"Right now we have not been able to investigate the situation because the area hasn't been rendered safe yet", L.A. County Sheriff's Department Deputy Grace Medrano told NPR. He said the two arrests were made in separate incidents and warned, "If you come here with the intent of taking advantage of the situation, we will arrest you and you will go to jail".
Craig Clunies-Ross and his wife had seen wildfires before and they were prepared when it was time to evacuate their Malibu home. On Saturday, they were among several families who drove through scorched hills and discovered their homes were leveled. Multiple fatalities have been reported but a number hasn't been released, according to local reports.
US President Donald Trump, however, threatened to suspend federal assistance to California, accusing the state of failing to prevent the fires.
California emerged from a five-year drought last year but has had a very dry 2018.
In an early morning tweet, he wrote "There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor". "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!"More news: OnePlus pulls another first with 6T's new gradient colour
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LeRoy Westerling, a climate and fire scientist at University of California Merced, told the San Francisco Chronicle Trump's tweet on Saturday oversimplified the issue in California. He said rising temperatures and longer spells of dry weather were behind an increase in not only the number of wildfires but their ferocity as well.
In northern California, the Camp Fire is one of the deadliest and most destructive in the state's history, killing at least 23 since it broke out on Thursday northeast of Sacramento and consumed much of the mountain town of Paradise.
Two people were found dead as a pair of wildfires stretched from inland canyons to the Pacific in Southern California on Saturday, leaving people sifting through the remains of both mansions and modest homes for anything they had left. The fire has blazed through more than a dozen square miles of land, according to USA Today.
With the entire town of Paradise wiped out and the fire still raging furiously in surrounding communities, Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said the county was bringing in a fifth search and recovery team. The sudden evacuation led to highway gridlock, forcing some to flee on foot.
Fire burned in famously ritzy coastal spots like Malibu, where Lady Gaga, Kim Kardashian West, Guillermo del Toro and Martin Sheen were among those forced out of their homes amid a citywide evacuation order.
"This is been the worst fire conditions that many firefighters said they have experienced in their careers", Osby said. There are still 35 people missing.
On Friday afternoon, Trump approved an emergency declaration for California, allowing for the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA to coordinate on disaster relief, including air support and evacuation assistance.