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iStock/Thinkstock(PARADISE, Calif.) -- When the sky turned pitch black and the electricity went out, Melissa Schuster got into her car with her 89-year-old mother, her husband who was recovering from surgery, and her two cats and fled their home in Paradise, Calif., thinking they would eventually return.

"People think of fires as moving along the ground and catching this tree and that tree, and then that house or whatever," Schuster, a Paradise town council member, said in an interview on ABC News' "Start Here" podcast. "That isn't what happened here. This was a firestorm. So the wind was picking up large pieces of debris and starting fires all over town wherever it happened to land."

Schuster had evacuated her home during the Humboldt fire that swept through Butte County in 2008, destroying 87 homes and burning 23,344 acres. But after three days, most residents of Paradise were back in their houses.

This time it was different. The firestorm that struck the Sierra foothills community on Thursday destroyed nearly the entire town, including Schuster’s home. She said it gave Paradise the dubious distinction of being the only place in America where the entire town council is currently homeless.

"Our entire five-member council is homeless," Schuster said. "All of our houses have been destroyed."

She described a harrowing escape on the two-lane road leading out of the burning town, which quickly became clogged with cars.

While stuck in the traffic jam, Schuster said she "put on my council hat" and began trying to direct vehicles.

"I tried to get them to do contraflow, with both lanes going out of town," she said.

Then she got a call from her son, saying his wife and children were stuck in another traffic jam and that their car was on fire.

"Of course, for my husband and I, the thought of losing our daughter-in-law and grandchildren hit us very very hard," she said.

She said that after six agonizing hours, they received word that their daughter-in-law and grandchildren had made it out of harm's way.

Schuster said that while she and most residents of Paradise are looking at a long recovery, the immediate danger is far from over.

"The entire community of Paradise is a toxic wasteland right now," she said, holding back tears. "In addition to that, and this is the hardest part for me to even talk about, the number of fatalities is [among] things that we don't know at this moment and that's something that has to be determined before people can move back in."

On Monday night, Butte County Sheriff's Officials announced that 13 additional bodies were discovered in the Camp Fire zone, including 10 in Paradise, bringing the total number of people killed by the blaze to 42 and making it the deadliest wildland inferno in the state's history.

"We have crews, we have teams -- you know, coroner teams -- that have to go house to house and vehicle to vehicle," Schuster said. "There are 6,400 homes that were burnt. That's a lot of homes they have to go through to ensure that there are no human remains there, not to mention the hundreds of vehicles that are burned out and just strewn all over the roads. And beyond that, it's just dangerous. It's toxic and it's dangerous."

Asked if Paradise will be rebuilt, Schuster emphatically said, "Yes! Yes, yes, yes!"

"We are in this horrible, horrible tragedy. We will come out of this horrible tragedy ... together," Schuster said. "We will rebuild our homes, we will rebuild our town stronger, better, safer and more beautiful than ever. We will do that. Paradise: together, strong."

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iStock/Thinkstock(EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP, N.J.) -- A car crashed into a Social Security building in New Jersey Tuesday morning, seriously injuring two people, according to local police.

The accident in Egg Harbor Township, near Atlantic City, appeared to be accidental, the Egg Harbor Township Police Department said.

This story is developing. Please check back for more updates.


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iStock/Thinkstock(MALIBU, Calif.) -- Thousands of firefighters are fighting deadly blazes tearing through the Golden State.

Over a dozen states have sent crews to help with the Camp Fire in Northern California and the Woolsey Fire in Southern California.

At least 42 people have died in the Camp Fire, now the the deadliest on record in the state. Authorities have requested search teams, portable morgue units, cadaver dogs and a DNA system to expedite the identification process.

Here is a closer look at the fires by the numbers:

Camp Fire


-- Started on Nov. 8 in Butte County in Northern California

-- 42 people have died, making the Camp Fire the deadliest in California’s history

-- 125,000 acres burned

-- 30 percent contained as of Tuesday morning

-- destroyed over 7,100 structures

-- threatening 15,500 structures

-- 52,000 people evacuated

-- over 1,500 calls requesting welfare checks

-- 3 firefighters injured

Woolsey Fire


-- Started on Nov. 8 in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties in Southern California

-- 2 people dead

-- burned over 96,000 acres

-- 35 percent contained as of Tuesday morning

-- destroyed 435 structures

-- threatening 57,000 structures

-- 149,000 people ordered to evacuate

-- 3,500 students at Pepperdine University in Malibu were ordered to shelter in place

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iStock/Thinkstock(PARADISE, Calif.) -- When Norma Weldon, a blind, 90-year-old woman, refused to evacuate her home as the deadly Camp Fire neared, her son, Brad Weldon, stayed behind to fight off the blaze.

Miraculously, their Paradise, Calif., home is now one of the very few still left standing.  

When the fire roared into the neighborhood, Brad Weldon said he had just minutes to prepare water and hoses.

"The wind was coming this way ... 60 mile-an-hour winds. It was coming straight at us," Brad Weldon told ABC News. "We both hit the ground and started watering ourselves down because we were going to cook."

Houses then went up in flames, one after another after another.

What he described as a "fire tornado" started churning, but then the powerful winds pushed "the fire away from us."

"I believe that was the angels," he said.

At least 42 people have died in the Camp Fire, now the the deadliest on record in the state. The blaze nearly demolished the town of Paradise.

"I walked a mile and a half and saw four houses," Brad Weldon said. "Everybody I know lost everything."

"I feel fortunate, almost guilty, because I don’t know if I was brave enough or stupid enough, but we stayed and fought it," he said. "And mom wouldn’t have left even if I wanted her to."

"Where would I go? I don't know anywhere," his mother, Norma Weldon, told ABC News. "There's a heavenly father up there that loves all of us and he will take care of all of us."

With so many of his neighbors suddenly homeless, Brad Waldson said he'll open his home to those in need. "All my loved ones know that if they need me, I’m here. ... I’ll turn this into a tent city," he said. "They’re all welcome."

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iStock/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- Authorities in Illinois continue to investigate the police shooting of a security guard who was trying to stop an active shooter at a nightclub in Illinois when he was fatally wounded.

A little after 4 a.m. Sunday, Robbins police asked for additional departments to assist its officers in responding to a call about a shooting at Manny's Blue Room Bar in Robbins, Illinois, according to Midlothian police.

Midlothian police said two of its officers had responded to the bar to help Robbins police. When officers arrived, Midlothian police said, they learned that there were several gunshot victims inside the bar.

"A Midlothian officer encountered a subject with a gun and was involved in an officer-involved shooting," Midlothian Police Chief Daniel Delaney said in a statement released hours after the shooting.

The person shot by the officer was later pronounced dead at a hospital, Delaney said.

Midlothian police and the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office identified the deceased as 26-year-old Jemel Roberson.

Delaney told ABC News on Tuesday that Roberson was the establishment's security guard.

"Our hearts go out to Jemel and his family and we are devastated by this incident," Delaney told ABC News. "We have learned a lot about Jemel over the last two days and he was [a] great man that was doing his best to stop an active shooter that evening."

At least four people were shot including Roberson, ABC News affiliate WLS-TV in Chicago said.

"He had somebody on the ground, with his knee in his back, with his gun on him, like 'Don't move,'" Adam Harris told a CBS affiliate. "Everybody was screaming out 'Security!' He was a security guard."

The status of the officer involved in the shooting was unknown.

Roberson was an organist at local churches including New Spiritual Light Baptist Church, according to WLS-TV.

"How in the world does the security guard get shot by police?" Pastor Walter Turner of New Spiritual Light Baptist Church said in an interview with WLS-TV. "A young man that was literally just doing his job and now he's gone."

A lawyer for the Roberson family has filed a wrongful-death civil lawsuit against the as yet unidentified officer and the village of Midlothian.

"This is a young man who was trying to do the right thing in life. He wanted to apply to the Chicago PD from what I was told. His mother did not want him working night-club security but he enjoyed it," said Gregory Kulis, the attorney for Jemel Roberson's mother, Beatrice Roberson.

The Illinois State Police Public Integrity Task Force is investigating the police shooting, which is the Midlothian Police Department's policy, according to Delaney.

The Cook County Sheriff's Police and Robbins Police Department were investigating the "criminal aspect," Delaney said.

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NYPD(NEW YORK) -- Police have released a sketch of a man wanted for allegedly assaulting a black woman while making racist statements in New York City. The attack took place on Nov. 9 at around 7:30 p.m. on Church Avenue and East 18th Street in Brooklyn.

The 57-year-old victim was exiting the southbound Q train when the suspect came up behind and started punching her while making “derogatory anti-black statements,” police said. He then fled the scene. The NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force is actively searching for the suspect who police describe as a white male in his 30s, and are seeking the public’s assistance to find the perpetrator.

The female victim told police she suffered a puncture wound to her shoulder. She refused to get treatment at first, but later went to Kings County Hospital for medical attention.

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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- As firefighters continue battling blazes in California that have claimed at least 44 lives, conditions in Southern California have worsened.

In San Diego County, the fire risk on Tuesday is extremely critical, the highest level issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

"Vary rapid fire growth, extreme fire behavior is expected," according to a report by the National Weather Service. "Explosive fire growth is possible with any fire starts."

Wind gusts in and around San Diego topped 80 mph Monday night, as a strong Santa Ana Wind event is underway in Southern California that will continue into Wednesday. A high-wind warning continues Tuesday in Los Angeles and San Diego counties, with gusts from 40 to 60 mph. In some places, it will be as high as 70 mph.

Relative humidity will remain dangerously low -- 3 percent to 8 percent -- meaning the red flag warning remains in effect.

Elsewhere in the U.S., a storm system is moving through the East Coast, bringing severe weather, including snow farther inland. A tornado watch has been issued in North Carolina until later Tuesday morning.

That storm will shift into northern New England and leave the U.S. later Tuesday. Winter weather advisories are expected to continue as western Pennsylvania, New York and New England could see more than half a foot of snow.

Following that storm system is a bitter Arctic blast that's taking aim at the Northeast, dropping Wednesday morning wind chills into the single digits in some parts.

A new storm expected to form along the Gulf Coast on Wednesday also is expected to make an impact along the East Coast, with heavy rain and thunderstorms.

By Thursday afternoon or evening, that system will be moving into the mid-Atlantic, also delivering sleet and snow, which could continue into Friday morning.

Coastal flooding is possible from New Jersey to Maine.

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ABC News(BALTIMORE) -- Protests are slated to take place in Baltimore this week as church leaders gather at the annual General Assembly of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to discuss the ongoing sexual abuse crisis.

Several prominent groups advocating for the rights of survivors of sexual abuse by clergy have planned demonstrations outside the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront as U.S. bishops contemplate their response to the widening scandal, described by one observer as "The Catholic Church's biggest crisis since the Reformation."

An event that was expected to culminate in steps toward increased transparency and accountability took a sudden turn on Monday morning when Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, announced in his opening remarks that a pair of votes on proposed policy changes to address the abuse crisis would be delayed "at the insistence" of the Vatican.

DiNardo, who told the assembled church leaders he was informed of the order late Sunday, said he was "disappointed" but remained "hopeful" progress could be made.

"We remain committed to the specific program of greater episcopal accountability that we will discuss these days," DiNardo said. "Consultations will take place. Votes will not this week."

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, the country's oldest and largest support group for survivors of clergy abuse, issued a statement Monday slamming the Vatican for "kick[ing] the can down the road."

"It is clear that a real response is needed in order to prevent future abuse, deter more cover-ups, and ensure accountability for bishops who fail to protect children and vulnerable adults," the statement said. "Today's action by the Vatican makes us wary that such a real response will be taken."

In a small demonstration held outside the conference venue on Monday evening, protesters called for DiNardo to resign and for bishops to make a firm commitment to fully cooperate with the various law enforcement investigations into clergy abuse that have been launched across the country.

Delaware recently became the 16th jurisdiction to launch an investigation of clerical sex abuse following the release of a Pennsylvania grand jury report detailing the cover-up of decades of abuse by hundreds of Catholic priests.

Probes have already been launched by officials in Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia and the District of Columbia -- as well as the Archdiocese of Anchorage in Alaska -- with officials in several other states telling ABC News their offices were reviewing their options and considering taking similar action.

The crisis has shaken the church's global hierarchy and prompted calls from some critics for the resignation of Pope Francis, but the Vatican appears to have remained skeptical of outside scrutiny.

In his address to the conference on Monday, Archbishop Christopher Pierre, the Vatican's ambassador to the United States, cited the "effective" measures that have already been taken and stressed that the responsibility to address the crisis rested with the bishops.

"There may be a temptation on the part of some to relinquish responsibility for reform to others than ourselves, as if we were no longer capable of reforming or trusting ourselves, as if the deposit of trust should be transferred to other institutions entirely," Pierre said. "We must show that we can solve problems rather than simply delegating them to others."

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Gwinnett County Police Department(LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga.) -- After a Georgia police officer was shot dead in the line of duty, inmates at a local jail sent a "heartfelt" letter to the slain officer's family.

Gwinnett County Police Officer Antwan Toney was shot dead while responding to a call on Oct. 20. He had been with the department for three years.

"Though law enforcement and criminals may be considered opposites, the intrinsic value of a human life transcends those boundaries by far," the Gwinnett County Jail inmates wrote. "Right is right and wrong is wrong. No matter the color uniform."

The letter -- dated Oct. 30 and released by the Gwinnett County Sheriff on Saturday -- extended condolences to Toney's family as well as the "brotherhood" of local law enforcement.

"I submit this letter to honor all police officers, military personell [sic] and first responders," the inmates wrote. "Your service and sacrifice make the world a better place for all. Thank you."

The names were redacted but it appears as if 20 inmates signed their names to the letter.

"We're deeply appreciative of this act of kindness from these men," Sheriff Butch Conway said in a statement. "We think that Officer Toney would also be appreciative of their actions and we hope you are, too."

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Myhealthguy/Instagram(LOS ANGELES) -- Fueled by blustery winds and parched vegetation, two massive fires burning in California both grew overnight, leaving thousands of exhausted firefighter battling to stretch containment lines around the raging blazes that have killed at least 44 people and destroyed thousands of homes.

Adding to the turmoil were two new fires that broke out within five minutes of each other Monday morning near the massive Woolsey Fire burning in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.

Chief Mark Lorenzen of the Ventura County Fire Department said the first blaze started at 10 a.m. near the city of Thousand Oaks, quickly spread and was threatening homes. The second fire ignited about five minutes later in the Rocky Peak area near a densely populated area of Semi Valley on the Los Angeles-Ventura County line. It grew to 105 acres and prompted the closure of Highway 118 in both directions for more than an hour, but the forward progress of the fire had been stopped by 2 p.m. PT.

Fire crews rapidly raced to both fires, battling them from the ground and air with helicopters. Firefighters were able to control the blazes and stop them from spreading to nearby populated areas, officials said.

"It just hits home that we are still in significant fire weather and the existing fire is not our only concern," Lorenzen said.

Meanwhile, the Camp Fire ravaging Nothern California's Butte County, now the most destructive and deadliest fire in the state's history, grew by 4,000 acres between Sunday and Monday morning as firefighters struggled to get a handle on the flames spreading into rugged, hard-to-reach terrain in the Sierra foothills.

Two prison inmate firefighters were among three injured fighting the Camp Fire, a Cal Fire officials told ABC News.

The fire, which is just 30 percent contained, has now burned 117,000 acres and destroyed 7,177 homes and businesses, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, also known as Cal Fire. The fire protection agency has created an interactive website for residents to check on the damage of their home or business.

The blaze has killed 42 people, topping the 1933 Griffith Park Fire in Los Angeles, previously the state's deadliest inferno, by more than 13.

The California wildfires, as shown in the map below, have burned more than 200,000 acres across the state.

The Woolsey Fire, one of two blazes wreaking havoc in Southern California, grew to 93,662 acres on Monday after it hopscotched through Los Angeles and Ventura counties over the weekend, leveling homes in the celebrity enclaves of Malibu, West Lake Village, and Calabasas.

The number of structures destroyed, which includes homes, grew to 435 on Monday, up from 177 on Sunday, according to Cal Fire.

The Woolsey Fire, which killed two people in Malibu, was 30 percent contained on Monday, officials said.

No rain is forecast before Thanksgiving

The next rain event isn't expected any time soon, National Weather Service meteorologist Aviva Braun told reporters Monday evening. There is no indication of precipitation in the next week and through Thanksgiving, she added.

Dry and near-critical conditions are expected to continue overnight Monday into Tuesday as breezy, northwest winds kick up again. However, the winds won't be nearly as strong as in the past few nights, so no red flag warnings were issued for Monday night.

The winds on Tuesday will be "much lighter," Braun said.

Neil Young loses home


Singer Neil Young, 73, confirmed Sunday that his Malibu home was among those destroyed in the fire.

"We are up against something bigger than we have ever seen. It's too big for some to see at all," Young wrote on the Neil Young Archives page on Facebook. "Firefighters have never seen anything like this in their lives. I have heard that said countless times in the past two days, and I have lost my home before to a California fire, now another."

The monstrous fires were threatening to destroy up to 57,000 more homes in Southern California and another 15,500 in Northern California as blustery winds are expected to deal firefighters a menacing challenge throughout the state over the next two days, Cal Fire officials said.

Officials remained concerned the death toll could rise as search and rescue crews reach areas previously unreachable because of fire danger. There were more than 100 people missing in the Butte County fire zones, though officials were working to track them down.

The Butte County Sheriff's Office has received 1,513 calls for welfare checks, and authorities had located 231 people safely by Monday night, officials said.

The Butte County Sheriff's Office has activated a call center for the public to provide and receive information about those thought to be missing.

The bodies of most of those who perished were found in Paradise, the Sierra foothills community that was almost completely destroyed by the Camp Fire.

149,000 evacuated

More than 149,000 people throughout the Golden State have evacuated as a result of the fires, outgoing California Gov. Jerry Brown told reporters Sunday afternoon.

The threats from the Camp Fire and the Woolsey Fire aren't expected to diminish anytime soon, as gusty weather ramped back up Sunday throughout the state. Red flag warnings signaling extreme fire danger have been issued from California's border with Oregon to its border with Mexico.

Batallion Chief Lucas Spellman said Monday on ABC's "Good Morning America" that fires were being fueled by an abundance of vegetation that grew during a spike in precipitation last year only to wither during a new dry spell that has hit the state.

"So, it's just a recipe for destruction," Spellman said.

Wind gusts could reach 50 mph across the eastern foothills and western slopes of the northern Sierra Nevada mountain range through today, as well as parts of the Sacramento Valley.

Officials are warning evacuees eager to return home to stay away, emphasizing that many of the damaged areas are still not safe.

Harrowing escape

Nichole Jolly, a nurse at Feather River Hospital in Paradise, said she was nearly killed twice Thursday by the Camp Fire after helping to evacuate critically sick patients.

"I called my husband and I just said, 'I don't think I'm gonna make it out of this. It's coming in too fast, I don't even know where to go,'" Jolly told ABC News.

She said she tried to drive out of the harm's way only to have her car fill up with smoke and get rear-ended by another panicked driver.

"I knew I was gonna die if I stayed in my car," she said, so she jumped out and ran.

She said her pants were on fire by the time she was rescued by two firefighters.

"Everybody I know lost everything.

Paradise resident Brad Weldon told ABC News that his home was one of four still standing on a mile-and-a-half stretch in his neighborhood.

Weldon woke up Thursday morning to fire reports in Pulga -- about a 30-mile drive east of Paradise -- but stayed at his home with his 90-year-old mother, Norma Weldon, who is blind and refused to leave.

Once Weldon noticed that the fire was coming toward his home with 60 mph winds, he witnessed a firenado change the course of the blaze.

"And a fire tornado, like a big firestorm, started right up there, and it kind of turned the fire away from us," he said. "I believe that was the angels."

When asked what was left of the town of Paradise, Weldon replied, "Nothing."

"It's gone," he said, holding back tears. "Everybody I know lost everything. It's real sad."

"Our entire five-member council is homeless."

The home of Melissa Schuster, councilwoman for the town of Paradise, was among the 6,453 single-family residences destroyed in Butte County in the Camp Fire, she told ABC News.

Schuster was at her home Thursday morning when Paradise Town Manager Lauren Gill called her, telling her that "the fire situation had changed," and she and her family barely made it out alive.

The fire progressed "so rapidly," Schuster said, adding that she’d never heard of "a fire that has impacted an entire community."

More than 50,000 Butte County residents are currently displaced, Schuster said. The homes of all five of Paradise’s councilmembers were also incinerated in the fire, she said.

"Our entire five-member council is homeless," she said.

While firefighters struggled to get a handle on the Woolsey Fire, another blaze burning in the Southern California, the Hill Fire, was 85 percent contained Monday after it consumed 4,531 acres in Ventura County near Thousand Oaks, where a gunman killed 12 people Wednesday night at a country bar before taking his own life.

The infamous Santa Ana wind in Southern California began kicking up again on Sunday with gusts of up to 40 mph hitting the fire zones, officials said. The winds are not expected to calm down until Tuesday.

Two people were found dead in Malibu from the Woolsey Fire, officials from Cal Fire said.

Detectives believe that the victims, found in a vehicle off the Mulholland Highway, were killed after the driver became disoriented while evacuating and the car was overcome by fire, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Cmdr. Scott Gage said in a press conference Sunday afternoon.

More than 3,200 firefighters are battling the Woolsey Fire, while another 4,500 are fighting the Camp Fire. Firefighters are also tending to at least another 12 smaller fires burning throughout the state.

"We need to make sure that all citizens are diligent to making sure that they do nothing to start a new fire," Chief Scott Jalbert of Cal Fire said at a news conference Sunday.

Burning ice plant

Lorenzen implored people to leave evacuation zones. He said the fire was burning everything in its path, including ice plant.

"Ice plant is not supposed to burn," Lorenzen said Sunday. "So my message to the community today is maybe 10 to 20 years ago you stayed in your homes when there was a fire and you were able to protect them. Things are not the way they were 10 years ago. The rate of spread is exponentially more than what it used to be."

The governor-elect of California, Gavin Newsom, has issued an emergency proclamation for Butte County due to the Camp Fire.

On Sunday, Gov. Brown requested that President Donald Trump issue a Major Disaster Declaration to bolster the ongoing emergency response and aid residents in their recovery from devastating fires throughout the state.

"We have the best firefighters and first responders in the country working in some of the most difficult conditions imaginable," Brown said in a statement Sunday. "We're putting everything we've got into the fight against these fires and this request ensures communities on the front lines get additional federal aid. To those who have lost friends and family members, homes and businesses, know that the entire state is with you. As Californians, we are strong and resilient, and together we will recover."

Late on Friday, Trump declared a state of emergency for California, freeing up federal resources to supplement local response efforts. The declaration allows the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate disaster relief efforts to help alleviate the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population, provide support for emergency measures and free up federal resources.

But on Saturday morning, Trump threatened to pull federal funding for California wildfires if the state didn't "remedy" its poor "forest management."

"Our focus is on the Californians impacted by these fires and the first responders and firefighters working around the clock to save lives and property — not on the president’s inane and uninformed tweets," Brown's press secretary, Evan Westrup, told ABC News on Sunday.

Brian Rice, president of California Professional Firefighters, called Trump's threat to slash funds for battling California wildfires "ill-informed, ill-timed, demeaning to those who are suffering as well as the men and women on the front lines."

Rice said Trump's assertion that California's forest management policies are to blame for the catastrophic wildfires is "dangerously wrong."

"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," Rice said.

On Tuesday, Trump approved an emergency request for a major disaster declaration in Butte, Los Angeles and Ventura Counties.

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Quinn Owen/ABC News(BASE CAMP DONNA, Texas) -- On an unusually frigid morning, Army Warrant Officer Silvestre Arroyo was supervising his team on Veterans Day weekend as they prepared a hot breakfast of sausage and grits.

His breakfast customers are the estimated 1,000 troops now stationed at this rural outpost in southern Texas and across the Rio Grande river valley.

Their deployment is an unusual one – inside the United States, ordered by President Donald Trump days before a national election to confront a slow-moving migrant caravan he calls “invaders” and a threat to national security.

“Creature comforts go a long way out here,” said Arroyo, a father of three young children.

Some 5,600 active duty troops have been deployed to the U.S.-Mexico border with the expectation that they could stay through mid-December, missing Thanksgiving with their families. Democrats have called the deployment a political farce orchestrated by Trump in a bid to galvanize his base; Republicans have pushed back, insisting that the border has long needed additional security.

Camp Donna, about an hour inland from South Padre Island, is the primary Army base camp in south Texas that supports troops spread across the Rio Grande river valley. Many soldiers are in tent camps, but the military has gotten creative, too, when it comes to housing.

One unit just down the road from Camp Donna is staying in an empty retail store in Weslaco, Texas that can sleep 200 troops.

Named for the small border town nearby, Base Camp Donna sits on federal land and spans multiple football fields in size.

Nothing existed on this land before the military showed up. Now, there are temporary shelters, massive power generators, hot meals, medical services, even a mobile laundry unit.

Temperatures in south Texas in November can fluctuate wildly – from the high 40 degrees to low 90s in a single week. Some of the tents are heated, others are not.

The primary reason for the deployment is to help the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, or CBP, prepare for a caravan of migrants making their way north through Mexico. These migrants say they are fleeing crushing poverty and war in Central America and want to claim asylum inside the United States.

Trump has responded not only with the military deployment but a new policy: Anyone wishing to seek asylum must do so at a designated port of entry. If caught crossing the border illegally, asylum will not be an option.

Twenty miles west of Camp Donna is the Hidalgo International Bridge, which connects the tiny border town of Hidalgo, Texas to Mexico. It’s the only port of entry for miles where travelers can cross on foot.

From the barbed wire-covered pedestrian walkway, the view of the deep river valley is obscured by reinforced fences. Some of this barbed wire is new, placed there by the Army at the CBP’s direction.

If the migrant caravan makes its way to the Hidalgo bridge, what they will likely see is a line. The border crossing there is already active with men, women, and children crossing back and forth daily, many with passes allowing them to cross the border with relative ease.

For those who don’t have the right paperwork and want to claim asylum – which often can include families and children who cross the border alone – they are funneled into small rooms that look somewhat like doctors’ offices.

It’s the same place that CBP officials will deal with accused drug traffickers and other criminals. From there, border officials will begin interviews to review the person’s claims, kicking off a process that could extend years before being resolved by an immigration court.

Port officials say the current flow of travelers is enough to put their facilities at maximum capacity.

Some holding cells have been converted into temporary bathrooms. Down the hall, a small storage closet keeps snacks and supplies. Folded blankets are stacked high next to shelves filled with clothing, blankets and diapers.

CBP officials try to avoid having people stay overnight here, but that doesn’t always happen. They do not have a plan to process a massive influx of migrants at the port itself.

The Army troops will be there only to provide support, with legal limitations on military force being used within U.S. borders.

For Arroyo, the food technician, the deployment feels like a “field training exercise,” and he says his kids will be excited when he returns home. He’s not sure when that might be, and he knows missing the Thanksgiving holiday with his family is a real possibility.

Arroyo’s father is from Veracruz, Mexico; his mother is from Texas.

When asked by a reporter what his family in Mexico thought of troops like him coming to the border, Arroyo’s eyes shifted to the military’s public relations officer leading a media tour.

“They know that I’m here to perform a mission,” he said after a pause. “That’s kind of the end of it.”

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iStock/Thinkstock(PARADISE, Calif.) -- When the deadly Camp Fire started to close in on Feather River Hospital in the Northern California town of Paradise, nurses were forced to evacuate their critically sick patients without warning.

"We got these patients in wheelchairs ... we were pulling tubes out," nurse Nichole Jolly told ABC News. Patients and staff made their exit within 20 minutes.

That's when Jolly's own harrowing journey to safety on Thursday started.

She was in the hospital parking lot as the fire rushed toward her.

"I called my husband and I just said, 'I don't think I'm gonna make it out of this, it's coming in too fast, I don't even know where to go,'" Jolly recalled.

She started driving but "the fire was blowing in so fast."

"There was sparks and flames hitting the side of my car," she said. "My car started to fill up with smoke."

Another driver hit her car from behind, pushing her off the road. The car started filling up with smoke.

"I knew I was gonna die if I stayed in my car," she said, so she jumped out and ran to a friend's nearby truck.

She banged on the truck door but the windows were pitch black inside.

At that point Jolly's own car was completely engulfed in flames. She ran up a hill and got into the next car she found. Inside was a doctor from the hospital.

The back of the Jolly's pants were on fire, she recalled, and as she sat down she burned a hole in the doctor's seat.

"She was praying with me and she's like, 'I don't think we're gonna make it,'" Jolly said. "I said, 'Don't think that way, we're gonna make it.'"

The doctor's car started to fill with smoke so Jolly said she got out and started running up the hill.

The sky was pitch black, Jolly said, and the air burned her lungs.

"I thought I was gonna die right there," she recalled. "There was no oxygen."

Then out of the darkness, she said, a fire truck appeared.

Two firemen extinguished her pants, put a fire blanket over her and lifted her into the truck, she said.

Jolly managed to survive with only very minor blisters to her legs.

At least 29 people have been killed in the Camp Fire, which ignited on Thursday and nearly wiped out the town of Paradise.

Though Jolly's own home was destroyed in the blaze, "it can all be replaced," she said.

"I'm alive and I thought I was gonna die multiple times, so, it's just stuff," she said. "My life, my kids' life, my mom's life, my husband, that can't be replaced."

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ABC News(LOS ANGELES) -- A prolonged drought followed by a welcomed spike in rain and another dry spell has created a "recipe for destruction" that's manifesting itself in wildfires of historic proportions raging in California, leveling thousands of homes and killing at least 31 people, a state fire official told ABC's "Good Morning America" on Monday.

With blazes burning in both Northern and Southern California, firefighters on the front lines are being pushed to the brink, many working 24-hour shifts to bring the infernos under control, said Batallion Chief Lucas Spellman of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, also known as Cal Fire.

"We're all very exhausted. But at this point, we have people depending on us and we have a job to do and we're not going to stop until these fires are put out," Spellman said in an interview with ABC News' Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos.

The death toll from fires rose to 31 overnight, according to officials. At least 200 people remain missing in the fire zones.

The Camp Fire in Northern California's Butte County, which started on Nov. 8, has burned 111,000 acres, destroyed more than 6,700 homes and business, killed 29 people and nearly wiped the Sierra foothills town of Paradise off the map. Firefighters working around the clock have gotten the blaze 25 percent contained.

Meanwhile, the Woolsey and Hill fires that ignited the same day in Southern California have blazed a path through Los Angeles and Ventura Counties, ravaging the celebrity enclaves like Malibu and Calabasas. While firefighters have gotten the Hill Fire 70 percent contained, strong Santa Ana winds continue to fan the Woolsey Fire, which has charred 85,500 acres, killed two people and reduced 177 homes to rubble.

The Woolsey Fire is only 10 percent contained.

On Sunday, Gov. Jerry Brown called the state's fire conditions the "new abnormal."

"This new abnormal will continue, certainly in the next 10, 15, 20 years," Brown said at a news conference on Sunday.

"Unfortunately, the best science is telling us that dryness, warmth, drought -- all those things -- they’re going to intensify," Brown said.

Spellman echoed the governor's comments Monday morning.

"Over the last few years it really keeps bringing up its head like this and it's just over and over again and these fires keep looking the same. It's really a new age of firefighting now," Spellman said on "Good Morning America."

He said a spike in precipitation last year that followed a five-year drought left the state's wildlands with an abundance of vegetation that is now fueling the infernos.

"Now we're back kind of in a drought right now. So, it's just a recipe for destruction," Spellman said.

Adding to the challenges to firefighters on the front lines throughout the state are gusty winds threatening to blow embers into areas that have yet to burn, officials said.

Red Flag warnings signaling extreme fire danger have been posted from California's northern border with Oregon to its southern border with Mexico.

The infamous Santa Ana winds returned to Southern California over the weekend, stoking the Woolsey Fire with gusts of up to 50 mph that are expected to persist through at least Wednesday.

"Some winds are going to test our lines for the next few days," Spellman said. "We're optimistic that we can keep fighting these fires but also cautious about what we have going on."

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ABC News/Chuck Kennedy(CHICAGO) -- Former first lady Michelle Obama was greeted with squeals and shocked faces when she surprised girls in a dance class at her high school alma mater.

Obama, 54, visited Whitney Young Magnet High School during a visit to her hometown of Chicago for an exclusive interview with with "Good Morning America" anchor Robin Roberts in early November.

Their visit, which aired Sunday in the ABC News special “Becoming Michelle: A First Lady’s Journey with Robin Roberts,” was supposed to be a quick drop-by visit but turned into much more.

As a photo of a young Obama, then named Michelle Robinson, hung on a wall nearby, the former first lady shared lessons with the girls about how she found her voice in high school.

"I want you all to learn how to be advocates for yourself in this life," Obama said. "Because people will try to take your voice and shape it in a way that has nothing to do with who you really are."

Obama also spoke candidly with the students about some of the obstacles she faced while serving as the first lady. Obama's memoir, "Becoming," will be released on Tuesday, Nov. 13.

"I had to fight stereotypes and notions that people thought they had about what a black woman from the South Side of Chicago should be," she said. "I was labeled as angry and not an asset to my husband, all because I was using my voice."

She added, "Don't feel like something's wrong with you when you have some bumps in the road."

Obama also spoke to the students about confidence in response to a question about how she had proven herself as "more than just the president's wife."

"You have to grow to believe that in yourself. Each and every one of you as women have to, and it doesn't happen overnight," she said. "Confidence and all of that sort of stuff, belief, that takes time."

"You've seen something that I didn't see. You grew up in a different way, so live that way. Carry that forward. Make sure that we're not slipping backwards," she told the students. "And that's up to you guys as the next generation. You've seen great women do amazing things. You have role models everywhere now, and none of us got here easily without someone trying to hold us down."

Obama continued, "So find the [role] models that match your vision, because now they're there. We're all here waiting for you.I would love to hug each and every one of you. I'm proud of you guys."

When Isa Sanchez, a junior elected by the high school as a student body representative, asked Obama how she can help "make everyone as happy as can be," Obama responded with advice likely learned from her eight years as the first lady.

"First of all, you stop trying to make everybody happy. It's impossible," Obama said. "That's not why people elected you. They've elected you because they trusted your judgment, so you've got to trust it."

Obama stayed to watch the girls perform the dance routine they had been rehearsing prior to the surprise visit.

"I'm so proud of you," Obama said after the performance. "Do not doubt anything."

The former first lady ended her visit with a group hug with the dance students.

"For us, in this moment, it was so inspiring to see someone who we look up to give us that boost of confidence," junior Payton James said at the end of the visit.

"She could show that as females we can still speak our minds and not have to fade into the background," senior Lauren Radomski said of Obama's impact.

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FBI(LUMBERTON, N.C.) -- It's been one week since a 13-year-old girl was kidnapped in front of her North Carolina home before school.

Now, investigators' pleas for more information grow "more and more urgent by the minute," according to FBI spokeswoman Shelley Lynch.

Eighth-grader Hania Noleia Aguilar was kidnapped just before 7 a.m. on Nov. 5 at the Rosewood Mobile Home park in Lumberton, said Lumberton Police Chief Michael McNeil.

Hania had walked outside with her aunt's car keys when a family member saw a man dressed in all black with a yellow bandanna over his face approach the teen and force her into the SUV, police said.

The suspect then stole the vehicle and drove away with Hania, police said. The car was recovered Thursday on Quincey Drive in Lumberton.

FBI agents are now looking to speak with everyone who lives near the mobile home park or on the road where the SUV was found.

Investigators have also released surveillance footage of a man they'd like to speak to in connection with the search.

The man was seen wearing light-colored shoes, a light-colored shirt and a hoodie walking south on Lambath Road before making a left on Highway 41 toward the trailer park Monday morning, FBI supervisor Andy de la Rocha told reporters last week. The man was the only person seen walking in the neighborhood in that part of the day, De la Rocha said.

“Someone knows this man and we need you to call us," De la Rocha said in a statement. "Maybe you recognize the way he walks, his mannerisms, or maybe he will recognize himself on TV. The public was critical in the recovery of the SUV, now we need you to come through again for us."

The FBI has also requested surveillance footage from residents and local business owners so investigators can construct a detailed timeline of when and how the stolen SUV was abandoned.

The FBI is offering a $15,000 reward and the North Carolina governor’s office is offering an additional $5,000 reward.

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