Obama pledges support for Valley Fire victims

President Barack Obama spoke with Gov. Jerry Brown Wednesday for an update on the Valley Fire that has ravaged 70,200 acres in Lake, Sonoma and Napa counties this week, White House officials said.

The president expressed his concern for impacted California residents and his gratitude for the firefighters and others responding to the massive blaze.

The federal government will continue its support for Valley Fire victims, Obama told Brown.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has already committed a grant for mitigation, management and control of the fire, which will cover 75 percent of the costs for fire suppression, safety and recovery needs, federal officials said Monday.

The fire has devastated communities, burning at least 585 homes and hundreds of other structures. As of about 6:15 p.m. it was estimated to be 35 percent contained at 70,200 acres.

It has been burning since about 1:30 p.m. Saturday, when it started off High Valley Road near Bottle Rock Road in Cobb. It spread rapidly and is already considered the ninth most damaging wildfire in California history.

The fire claimed the life of a 72-year-old Lake County woman in her Anderson Springs home in Cobb. Several other Lake County residents have been reported missing.

Four firefighters were injured in the fire Saturday and are in a Sacramento hospital.

Cal Fire officials said today that 14,000 firefighters are battling 10 large fires across California, including 3,100 at the Valley Fire. This year’s fire season has been one of the worst ever for the number of wildfires, their size and the destruction they’ve caused.