President threatens to withhold federal wildfire payments

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PARADISE, Calif. (AP) - The Latest on California wildfires (all times local):

Camp Fire burns down most of Paradise in Northern California Photo: CAL FIRE via MGN

7:45 a.m.

Officials say a deadly blaze that leveled a Northern California town has spread overnight but crews also got some control of the flames.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said Saturday that the wildfire grew to 156 square miles (404 square kilometers) but it's 20 percent contained.

Cal Fire says the blaze that started Thursday in the hills near the town of Paradise destroyed 6,453 homes and 260 businesses. An additional 15,000 structures are threatened. At least nine people have died.

Officials say more than 3,000 firefighters are battling the blaze, which is California's most destructive wildfire since record-keeping began.

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1:30 a.m.

President Donald Trump is threatening to withhold federal payments to California, claiming its forest management is "so poor."

Trump says Saturday via Twitter that "there is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly fires in California." Trump says "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 comments were Trump's first about massive wildfires, including a blaze that incinerated most of the Northern California town of Paradise and killed at least nine people.

Wildfires also raged in Southern California, including the town of Thousand Oaks, where a gunman days earlier killed a dozen people at a local bar.

Trump earlier issued an emergency declaration providing federal funds to help firefighters.

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