California wildfires: Fears that rain could affect rescue efforts

Last updated at 10:47
President Donald Trump surveys the damage with Jody Jones, the Mayor of a destroyed town called Paradise in CaliforniaPaul Kitagaki Jr.-Pool/Getty Images
President Donald Trump surveys the damage with Jody Jones, the Mayor of a destroyed town called Paradise in California.

Officials battling the largest wildfire in California history say the rain forecast to arrive this week may complicate search and recovery efforts.

Firefighters say the weather conditions will likely help efforts to contain the blaze, and cut down on the levels of smoke in the air.

But state wildfire officials warn it could turn ash on the ground into a thick sludge.

There are also fears it could result in land and mudslides on the fire damaged landscapes.

The coming weather is set to be the first major rainfall in about six months, while a breeze caused by Santa Anna winds may also further complicate fire-fighting efforts.

The number of people who've died in the fires has now gone up to 80 and around 1,000 people are missing.

Over the weekend President Trump visited the state of California, where devastating wildfires have been burning for over a week.

Reports suggest that these fires have moved very quickly due to high winds, low humidity and dry trees and grass.

Fire fighters and local authorities have been working hard to keep as many people safe as possible, and have managed to contain some of the fires.

What was Trump's response to the wildfires?

The president's response to the fires has been controversial. He believes poor forest management is to blame and threatened to cut the amount of money the government would give to help aid the disaster.

He was heavily criticised and angered a lot of people including fire fighters' associations, politicians and celebrities.

Yesterday he repeated these claims and said he had not changed his point of view on climate change.

Authorities have suggested the scale of the fire was in part fuelled by a severe lack of rain in the state.

In Paradise, Mr Trump praised the efforts of local law enforcement, politicians and the teams searching for survivors on the ground.

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WATCH: One of the blazes called the Camp Fire has been fuelled by strong winds and dry forest
Celebrities evacuated from homes

The fires have affected an area called Malibu, a place that's home to many Hollywood stars.

Lady Gaga, Kanye West and his wife Kim Kardashian, were amongst those who had to flee their houses.

All confirmed that they are safe via social media.

Fire Fighters, I love you and thank you for doing all that you can to keep us safe!

Kim Kardashian on Twitter
Where are the wildfires burning?
Police patrol a highway as Camp Fire burns nearbyGetty Images
Police patrol a highway as Camp Fire burns nearby

The California Fire Department says it has now contained about 55% of the Camp Fire blaze, which swept through the north.

It has been the most destructive blaze, spreading through a town called Paradise which has been the worst-hit area. Officials are saying it will need a "total rebuild" job that will take several years.

The Woolsey Fire near Los Angeles covers nearly 100,000 acres and is now 62% contained.

Hill Fire started at a similar time, very close to the Woolsey Fire, and is 99% contained.

The Morgan Fire in Contra Costa County, near San Francisco, covers 20 acres and is 60% contained.

Map showing where the fires are
Map of the area where the fires have been raging - particularly affecting areas near Los Angeles, Malibu and Paradise.
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WATCH: How are hot weather and wildfires connected?

The fire moved so quickly that many were forced to leave their cars and possessions behind. More than 250,000 people had to be evacuated from their homes.

Patients from a local hospital have also been evacuated.

This year has been a particularly bad year for California, which has seen an increase in the number of serious wildfires.

A fire fighter cuts into a garage door in a burning apartment complexGetty Images
Emergency services have been working through the night to keep people safe and to try and evacuate as many people as possible

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