U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke says he’s canceled a planned trip to Asia at the direction of the White House and will instead travel to California to support efforts to contain the deadly wildfires scorching large areas of the state.
Zinke said Tuesday he will visit the Northern California fire that wiped out the town of Paradise and killed 42 people. He will travel later to Southern California where another fire is burning that has killed two people.
Zinke says he plans to meet with California Gov. Jerry Brown to offer the administration’s support.
The move comes after President Donald Trump, Zinke’s boss, on Saturday blamed poor “forest management” for making California’s fires so big, deadly and costly.
On Tuesday, President Trump thanked firefighters, first responders and the Federal Emergency Management Agency for doing their jobs with “courage in the face of very grave dangers.”
Trump spoke about the fires at the beginning of a White House ceremony about the Hindu festival of lights.
He said there are more victims of the California wildfires “than anybody would ever even think possible.”