TORONTO — The news reports coming in from Grand Bahama and the Abaco Islands are heartbreaking, and the images even more so.
SACRAMENTO — Visit California is recommending that visitors who are planning a trip to California check out www.visitcalifornia.com and contact their hotel and local convention and visitors bureau for updates as major wildfires rage at both ends of the state.
Officials have reported six more victims in the scorched town of Paradise and outlying areas, bringing the death toll there to 29 and matching the record for the deadliest single blaze in California history.
Statewide the death toll stood at 31 and 228 people are unaccounted for.
Ten search teams are working in Paradise, a town of 27,000, and in surrounding communities in Northern California’s Sierra Nevada foothills.
All told, more 8,000 firefighters battled wildfires that scorched at least 1,040 square kilometres of the state, with the flames feeding on dry brush and driven by winds that had a blowtorch effect.
“This is truly a tragedy that all Californians can understand and respond to,” Gov. Jerry Brown said Sunday. “It’s a time to pull together and work through these tragedies.”
California is requesting emergency aid from the Trump administration. President Donald Trump has blamed what he called poor forest management for the fires.
The governor said that the federal and state governments must do more forest management but that climate change is the greater source of the problem.
“And those who deny that are definitely contributing to the tragedies that we’re now witnessing and will continue to witness in the coming years,” Brown said.
In Southern California , firefighters beat back a new round of winds Sunday and the fire’s growth was believed to have been largely stopped, though extremely low humidity and gusty Santa Ana winds were in the forecast through at least Tuesday.
According to Visit California’s website, due to extremely dry and windy weather conditions, CalFire has issued a Red Flag Warning for the next several days while fire danger remains high.
“California is a large state and wildfires in one location typically have no impact outside a limited area. In fact, a vast majority of the Golden State is currently unaffected by fires. Visit California’s first concern is always the safety and well-being of California residents and visitors, so we recommend that visitors who are planning a trip to California check out www.visitcalifornia.com and contact their hotel and local convention and visitors bureau for all pertinent updates,” reads a statement on Visit California’s website.
For the latest information on wildfires in the state, visit www.calfire.ca.gov.
With file from The Associated Press