November 13, 2018 at 1:54 pm PST | by Karen Ocamb
Hellscape, California

Photo of Liam Hemsworth’s devastated home in Malibu, which he posted on Instagram

Love is all that remains in the house bisexual singer Miley Cyrus shares with actor Liam Hemsworth in Malibu, Hemsworth posted with visual proof on Instagram.

“Completely devestated by the fires affecting my community. I am one of the lucky ones. My animals and LOVE OF MY LIFE made it out safely & that’s all that matters right now. My house no longer stands but the memories shared with family & friends stand strong. I am grateful for all I have left. Sending so much love and gratitude to the firefighters and LA country Sheriff’s department!” Cyrus wrote on Twitter.

The death toll continues to climb in the worst California fire in the state’s history, 44 dead as of Nov. 13 with hundreds missing. Emergency workers are still combing through fire-ravaged communities and thousands remain evacuated, including out singer Melissa Etheridge. Individuals and communities throughout California are rallying to help each other, often risking their own lives to rescue and help those fleeing by foot after their cars catch on fire trapped in gridlock on narrow roads or stranded homeowners who will not leave their pets and horses.

A 27-year old man the New York Times identified as Mr. Gonzalez, “stayed at his house in Agoura Hills despite evacuation orders. He began to second-guess how long he should stay as the air grew increasingly black. Fire engulfed the hills around his community and ripped through several neighborhoods. One house nearby spontaneously erupted in flames from stray embers,” The Times reported.

“Basically there was like a ring of fire all around. There was this thick, thick smoke, and just a bunch of ashes everywhere,” Gonzalez told The Times. “The freeways are closed north and southbound, the canyons, there was no way in or out.”

The wildfires started last Thursday, Nov. 8, when the Camp Fire erupted in Northern California. It has already scorched more than 125,000 acres—totally destroying the town of Paradise in Butte County, and as of Nov. 13, was only 30 percent contained.

The Woolsey Fire from Thousand Oaks to Malibu outside Los Angeles also started Thursday and startled thousands with the wind spread the fire rapidly, doubling in size overnight. That fire has burned nearly 100,000 acres with roughly 35% containment. The Thousand Oaks community is suffering twin heartbreaks: fear and loss from the unpredictable, still raging wildfires and the recent loss of young people in the mass shooting at the Borderline bar, with memorials continuing.

Thanks to a massive and aggressive assault by firefighters, the Hill Fire in Ventura County was 85 percent contained on Monday, after destroying 4,500 acres.

In a series of tweets on Saturday, President Donald Trump blamed local government for the fires.  “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!”

There was an instant angry pushback. “His comments are reckless and insulting to the firefighters and people being affected,” said Harold Schaitberger, president of the International Association of Fire Fighters.

“The President’s message attacking California and threatening to withhold aid to the victims of the cataclysmic fires is ill-informed, ill-timed and demeaning to those who are suffering as well as the men and women on the front lines,” said Brian K. Rice, president of the California Professional Firefighters. “In my view, this shameful attack on California is an attack on all our courageous men and women on the front lines.”

Trump “is dangerously wrong,” Rice added. “Wildfires are sparked and spread not only in forested areas but in populated areas and open fields fueled by parched vegetation, high winds, low humidity and geography.”

“This is an absolutely heartless response,” tweeted LGBT ally singer Katy Perry. “There aren’t even politics involved. Just good American families losing their homes as you tweet, evacuating into shelters.”

Out talk show host and comedienne Ellen DeGeneres was kinder. “One of the reasons I love the firefighters, first responders and the people of California, is we don’t place blame or make threats. We come together, and we take care of each other. (Now more than ever.) #Thankstho.

Trump eventually relented and approved the state’s request for a major disaster declaration, making federal funds available for the stricken areas.

Out LA County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl thanked the firefighters, first responders and volunteers who have rushed to offer relief—water, food, blankets, shelter, hugs—whatever they can do to serve those who’ve lost everything.

“We are dedicated to helping each person displaced and frightened and securing ever more resources throughout the county,” Kuehl said in a message to her Third District constituents, those most impacted by the wildfires in the LA County area.

“Through all this sadness, I’m also greatly filled with hope listening to the countless stories of residents who risked their lives to help their neighbors, of government agencies at every level working together to keep people safe, and of the outpouring of support from Angelenos offering refuge, sheltering of pets, essential supplies for those displaced and for our firefighters,” Kuehl said.

Kuehl advised people to check lacounty.gov/woolseyfire and 211la.org/fire for the latest updates, and for those looking for ways to help the victims please go to kueh.ly/WaysToHel.

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