PARADISE, California: Two monster wildfires, including the most destructive in California's history, burned out of control on Saturday, having already killed at least nine people, destroyed scores of buildings and forced hundreds of thousands to flee their homes.
Nine people were found dead in and around the Northern California town of Paradise, where more than 6,700 homes and businesses were burned down by the 90,000-acre (36,400 hectares) Camp Fire, the state's most destructive on record, authorities said.
"This event was the worst-case scenario. It was the event we have feared for a long time," Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said at a Friday evening press conference. "Regrettably, not everybody made it out."
The blaze that started Thursday outside the hilly town of Paradise has grown to 156 square miles (404 square kilometers) and destroyed more than 6,700 buildings, almost all of them homes, making it California's most destructive wildfire since record-keeping began.
Calmer winds offer chance to slow Southern California fire
President Donald Trump, weighing in on the emergency during a trip to France, said early on Saturday that "gross mismanagement of forests" was to blame.
"There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor," he wrote in a Twitter post.
"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!" he added.
Representatives for Acting California Governor Gavin Newsom, a Democrat who was elected on Tuesday to replace Jerry Brown, could not immediately be reached for comment.
Trump, a Republican, has previously blamed California officials for fires and threatened to withhold funding, saying the state should do more to remove rotten trees and other debris that fuel blazes. Officials in the state have countered that climate change is the culprit.
The sheriff also advised more counties were advised to evacuate.
Fire official says 6,713 structures destroyed in Northern California wildfire that has grown to 140 square miles.
Officials said they expected the fire to burn to the Pacific Coast Highway and to the Pacific Ocean, potentially reaching 30,000 acres.
High winds are also to blame for the Camp Fire, which Cal Fire described as "very dangerous" in an afternoon tweet while encouraging people to heed widespread evacuation orders.
Neil Lareau, an assistant professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Nevada, Reno, said the Camp Fire is moving twice as fast as the Carr Fire, which devastated Shasta County this summer.