President Donald Trump has toured Camp Fire’s damage, the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California’s history.
Named after Camp Creek Road, its place of origin, the fire started on November 8, 2018, in Butte County, and killed at least 71 people.
More than 1,000 people are reported to be missing, although officials say that figure could fluctuate.
Speaking in the town of Paradise, President Trump described the scene as “sad to see” and revisited his disputed claim poor forest management was to blame.
He said: “We do have to do management maintenance and we’ll be working also with environmental groups, I think everyone’s seen the light.”
According to experts, the main causes of the wildfires are the weather, climate change and population shifts.
On top of the Camp Fire, firefighters are also tackling several other blazes, including the Woolsey Fire near Los Angeles which has claimed at least three lives.
Meanwhile, scores of people have become sick after outbreaks of the norovirus at shelters and the air quality in northern California has been rated the world’s worst.
Heavy rain is forecast next week that could douse the flames but also bring mudslides and floods on hillsides stripped of vegetation.
Arriving in California, President Trump was greeted by Governor Jerry Brown and his successor Gavin Newsom, both of whom are Democrats and have sparred with the president over the wildfires.
Governor Brown wrote on Twitter: “Now is a time to pull together for the people of California.”
In Paradise, President Trump praised the efforts of local law enforcement, politicians and the teams searching for survivors on the ground.
Some locals held up pro-Trump signs, although one called him a “moron”.
On November 16, the death toll rose to 71 after more bodies were found in Paradise, which has been all but destroyed by the fire.
Military troops are assisting forensics teams and cadaver dogs as they continue to search for human remains eight days on after the Camp Fire first broke out.
Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea put the number of people unaccounted for at 1,011, a sharp leap from the 631 reported just 24 hours earlier.
However, the sheriff described the list as “dynamic”,
He said: “The information I am providing you is raw data and we find there is the likely possibility that the list contains duplicate names.”
According to authorities, some of those on the list may be fine but unaware they have been reported missing, or unable to call.
The Camp Fire is now about 50% contained but fire officials say they may not have it fully under control until the end of the month.
Historically, California’s “wildfire season” started in summer and ran into early autumn – but experts have warned that the risk is now year-round.