President Trump is expected to travel to California over the weekend amid the wildfires that have ravaged both ends of the state, the White House revealed Thursday.
The president will visit the state on Saturday to pay a visit to those who've been affected by the flames, White House Deputy Press Secretary Lindsay Walters said.
"We will keep you updated on details as they are available," Walters said.
The Camp Fire burning in Northern California has claimed the lives of at least 63 people, Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said Thursday night. The blaze, which is 40 percent contained, has burned through 140,000 acres and destroyed more than 8,700 residences since it erupted on Nov. 8, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
At least two people were killed by the Woolsey Fire in Southern California and a third death in that fire zone is under investigation as possibly linked to the fire, according to The Associated Press. The blaze, which also began on Nov. 8, has torn through more than 98,000 acres and is 57 percent contained, the agency said.
The president took to Twitter last Saturday, criticizing the state for having inadequate forest management and threatened to withhold federal funds.
“There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor,” Trump tweeted. “Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!”
The president’s comments were condemned as a “shameful attack” by California Professional Firefighters President Brian Rice. Trump’s claim that the state’s forest management policies were at fault were “dangerously wrong,” Rice said, adding that wildfires are sparked and spread “by parched vegetation, high winds, low humidity and geography.”
Since then, Trump has extended his praise to those who have responded to the devastation and tweeted that he signed a Major Disaster Declaration for the state.
“I just approved an expedited request for a Major Disaster Declaration for the State of California,” Trump tweeted on Monday. “Wanted to respond quickly in order to alleviate some of the incredible suffering going on. I am with you all the way. God Bless all of the victims and families affected.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.