See The Ghastly Photos From Zinke’s First Day Surveying Fire Damage In California

REUTERS/Terray Sylvester

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Tim Pearce Energy Reporter
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Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Brock Long visited the sites of major wildfires in California Wednesday to survey the damage and plan recovery operations.

Zinke and Long met with Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown, other state officials and emergency crew workers throughout the day and toured the wreckage of Paradise, a town of about 27,000 that was 95 percent destroyed by the Camp Fire last week. (RELATED: As California Burns, Jerry Brown Takes Heat For Vetoing 2016 Wildfire Mitigation Bill)

The Camp Fire, driven by Santa Ana winds as high as 80 mph, gutted Paradise. It swept through the community the morning of Nov. 8 and killed dozens that were caught unaware or did not have enough time to escape.

Officials have recovered the bodies of 48 people killed by the Camp Fire so far. Dozens more community members, most above the age of 65, are still missing, CNN reported. Remains were found in the ruins of houses, out in the open and in the husks of burned out cars.

“Every time I come to California I say this is the worst fire I’ve seen. Once again this is the absolute worst,” Zinke said in Wednesday tweet. “Worse than any war zone I saw in Iraq. The heroism of firefighters is amazing.”


The Camp, Hill and Woolsey wildfires have burned more than 221,000 acres in the past week. The Camp Fire is the most deadly and destructive – in terms of structures destroyed – in California history.


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