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Woolsey Fire Soars to 70,000 Acres as Trump Blames ‘Poor’ Forest Management

The massive Woolsey fire raging in Malibu, Calif. has expanded to 70,000 acres (109 sq. mi.), Cal Fire reported in the early hours of Saturday morning. The fire remains at 0% containment.

The sheriff’s office confirmed two people were found dead in Malibu Friday at 4:45 p.m. on the 33000 block of Mulholland Highway, though the cause of death has not been released.

More than 200,000 people have been under mandatory evacuation orders, including the entire city of Malibu, and at least 150 homes have burned between the Woolsey fire and nearby Hill fire. The Hill fire, at 4,531 acres, is 25% contained and has stopped advancing.

Evacuees were directed south down the Pacific Coast Highway, which created miles of standstill traffic. The fire reportedly jumped the PCH around 10 p.m. Friday after crossing the 101 earlier in the day and is moving towards the Malibu Colony.

Numerous Hollywood-connected structures have burned, including the Bachelor mansion, the historic Western Town film set on Paramount Ranch in Agoura Hills, and the homes of Caitlyn Jenner and “Dr. Strange” director Scott Derrickson. Several celebs have evacuated, including Kim Kardashian West, Kourtney Kardashian, Lady Gaga, Rainn Wilson, Alyssa Milano, and Melissa Etheridge.

Other Malibu residents include Barbra Streisand, Robert Downey Jr., Halle Berry, Jennifer Aniston and NBA star Kevin Durant. Cher and Mark Hamill both tweeted that the flames were close to their homes but indicated they were safe. Guillermo del Toro tweeted early Friday that his Bleak House collection of horror film memorabilia may be in danger, but that “the gift of life remains.”

He followed up Saturday afternoon, stating that Bleak House was still standing.

Firefighters are looking to a “narrow window of calm wind” Saturday to swap out fire crews that have been working nonstop since the fire broke, and hopefully get a chance to control the edges of the fire.

The president chimed in on Twitter about the California fires, which also include the Camp fire in Northern California, stating that there is “no reason” for them “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!” he added.

Observers were not pleased with Trump’s tweet.

The International Association of Fire Fighters and California Professional Fire Fighters both condemned Trump’s words.

“To minimize the crucial, life-saving work being done and to make crass suggestions such as cutting off funding during a time of crisis shows a troubling lack of real comprehension about the disaster at hand the dangerous job our fire fighters do,” said IAFF president Harold Schaitberger.

Brian Rice, president of the California Professional Firefighters, called Trump’s statement “ill-informed, ill-timed and demeaning,” as well as “an uninformed political threat aimed squarely at the innocent victims of these cataclysmic fires.”

“In my view, this shameful attack on California is an attack on all our courageous men and women on the front lines.”

Read Rice’s full statement below.

“The president’s message attacking California and threatening to withhold aid to the victims of the cataclysmic fires is Ill-informed, ill-timed and demeaning to those who are suffering as well as the men and women on the front lines.

“At a time when our every effort should be focused on vanquishing the destructive fires and helping the victims, the president has chosen instead to issue an uninformed political threat aimed squarely at the innocent victims of these cataclysmic fires.

“At this moment, thousands of our brother and sister firefighters are putting their lives on the line to protect the lives and property of thousands. Some of them are doing so even as their own homes lay in ruins. In my view, this shameful attack on California is an attack on all our courageous men and women on the front lines.

“The president’s assertion that California’s forest management policies are to blame for catastrophic wildfire is dangerously wrong. Wildfires are sparked and spread not only in forested areas but in populated areas and open fields fueled by parched vegetation, high winds, low humidity and geography. Moreover, nearly 60 percent of California forests are under federal management, and another two-thirds under private control. It is the federal government that has chosen to divert resources away from forest management, not California.

“Natural disasters are not “red” or “blue” – they destroy regardless of party. Right now, families are in mourning, thousands have lost homes, and a quarter-million Americans have been forced to flee. At this desperate time, we would encourage the president to offer support in word and deed, instead of recrimination and blame.”

Governor-elect Gavin Newsom responded to Trump’s tweet, writing “this is not a time for partisanship. This is a time for coordinating relief and response and lifting those in need up.”

The Pasadena Fire Association corrected the president. “The fires in So. Cal are urban interface fires and have NOTHING to do with forest management. Come to SoCal and learn the facts & help the victims.”

Jimmy Kimmel retweeted the Pasadena Fire Assn.’s tweet and added “our ‘President’ points his little finger in the wrong direction to settle scores.”

“This is an absolutely heartless response,” wrote Katy Perry. “There aren’t even politics involved. Just good American families losing their homes as you tweet, evacuating into shelters.”

“Honestly thought this one was from a parody account,” wrote Zach Braff. “The city is on fire and people and animals are dying.”

Documentary filmmaker Lucy Walker wrote, “How can POTUS be so wrong? Yes. There are clear, agreed-upon reasons, including climate change.”

“The First” showrunner Beau Willimon pointed out Trump’s lack of “consolation to those who have lost life & property,” and wrote that the Bureau of Land Management’s budget is determined by Congress, not the president.

Patricia Arquette mused that “maybe Trump would like to see what would happen if California threatened to withhold out federal taxes.”

“Grace & Frankie” star Martin Sheen has been found, according to Fox 11, after his son Charlie Sheen tweeted Friday evening that he could not “get ahold” of his parents. He said the pair were located at the staging ground near Zuma Beach, where Malibu area residents and large animals were fleeing as the flames advanced.

“We evacuated early this morning from Point Dume around 9:30, and we’ve been here ever since,” Martin Sheen told Fox. He said he believes there’s little chance his home survived the flames.

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