President Donald Trump heads to Northern California on Saturday to see firsthand the grief and devastation from the deadliest US wildfire in a century amid confusion over how many people remain unaccounted for, the AP reports. Authorities confirmed a new death toll of 71 and say they are trying to locate 1,011 people, even as they stressed that not all are believed missing. California's outgoing and incoming governors, both Democrats and vocal critics of Trump, planned to join the president Saturday. Gov. Jerry Brown and Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom welcomed Trump's visit, declaring it's time "to pull together for the people of California." The blaze that started Nov. 8 largely destroyed the town of Paradise, population 27,000, and heavily damaged the nearby communities of Magalia and Concow.
It destroyed more than 9,800 homes and at its height displaced 52,000 people. Trump was expected to land Saturday morning at Beale Air Force Base just north of Sacramento and said he plans to meet with Brown and Newsom and first responders. This patch of California, a former Gold Rush region in the Sierra Nevada foothills, is to some extent Trump country. He beat Hillary Clinton by 4 percentage points in Butte County in 2016. But Trump has stirred resentment among survivors over comments he made two days after the disaster on Twitter, then reiterated on the eve of his visit. In an interview taped Friday and scheduled for broadcast on Fox News Sunday, Trump said he was surprised to see images of firefighters removing dried brush near a fire, adding, "This should have been all raked out." (A wanted man died after a chase through a fire zone.)