VOA News

California Governor Jerry Brown said Saturday that he had asked U.S. President Donald Trump for emergency aid to help the state fight wildfires that are ravaging communities up and down the drought-stricken West Coast state.

The governor visited Northern California on Saturday to look at the damage done by a fire in the city of Redding. He said he was confident Trump would respond to California’s request for aid.

Carol Smith, far right in blue, her daughter Suzie Scatena, third from right, and husband Tim, third from left, tour their fire-ravaged neighborhood along with support crews, Aug. 2, 2018, in Redding, Calif. The Smiths' home of 30 years was destroyed by a wildfire.
Carol Smith, far right in blue, her daughter Suzie Scatena, third from right, and husband Tim, third from left, tour their fire-ravaged neighborhood along with support crews, Aug. 2, 2018, in Redding, Calif. The Smiths’ home of 30 years was destroyed by a wildfire.

“The president has been pretty good on helping us in disasters, so I’m hopeful,” Brown said, noting that people with differing political views can still cooperate in a crisis.

Later Saturday officials announced the death of a seventh person in the Carr fire. The fire, about 162 miles north of Sacramento, killed a power company lineman Saturday, according to a CBS affiliate citing a spokesman for the PG&E Corp. Neither a spokesman with the electric company nor fire officials were immediately available for comment.

No other details about the death were made public.

Fire experts said 17 major fires were burning throughout California. Thousands of people have evacuated their homes, and eight people have died in the blazes. California’s famous Yosemite National Park has been closed for the past week because of dangerous conditions at what is normally the busiest time of year for tourism.

Northern California’s major blaze, the Carr Fire, was 41 percent contained after two weeks, officials said. They believe it started with sparks from the steel wheel of a trailer with a flat tire.

In this photo taken Aug. 2, 2018, a thank-you banner for firefighters, first responders and hospital workers hangs outside Mercy Medical Center in Redding, Calif. Dozens of staff members, including doctors, nurses and others at the medical center, are keeping the hospital running despite losing their homes to the flames.
In this photo taken Aug. 2, 2018, a thank-you banner for firefighters, first responders and hospital workers hangs outside Mercy Medical Center in Redding, Calif. Dozens of staff members, including doctors, nurses and others at the medical center, are keeping the hospital running despite losing their homes to the flames.

The fire’s damage is thought to span 533 square kilometers (205 square miles). Two firefighters have died while working to contain the flames.

Brown has called the past couple of years’ dramatic fire seasons “the new normal,” and California fire officials have warned that this year’s fire season is just getting started.