Local officials preparing for Saturday's Presidential visit

BUTTE COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- State and local officials in Butte County are awaiting President Trump's visit to the fire zone on Saturday.

"I would love for him to understand the impact that this has had on my community," said Sheriff-Coroner Kory Honea.

RELATED: President Trump will travel to California to visit wildfire sites

Each night, he's had to deliver the grim update on the number of casualties. As of Friday night, the death toll climbed to 71.

"I would really appreciate it if he had some time to acknowledge the great work of the public safety professional s out here. If that happened tomorrow, I would feel that was a very positive visit," Honea said, without directly mentioning Trump's controversial tweet on the Camp Fire. Trump originally criticized forest management while threatening to withhold funding. In later tweets, the president thanked first responders while promising aid.

The main focus for local authorities the past week has been on search and recovery efforts and helping fire survivors get back on their feet.

On Friday, hundreds of displaced victims packed a portion of the Chico Mall where FEMA has set up a disaster recovery center. The need is so great that the wait times have been too long for some.

Stacey Akin found out that she is one of the thousands who lost everything. She's grateful to have been able to escape her Paradise home as she requires a walker.

"My legs gave out so I was in my yard yelling for someone to please god help me and I heard a voice from out of the dark," recalled Akin. "My neighbor said 'what do you need,' and I said 'help.'"

With so many traumatizing experiences, crisis counselors and comfort dogs are keeping victims in good spirits.

RELATED:California wildfires: Trump tweets new support of firefighters after threat to withhold federal payments

The process of getting aid can be overwhelming but once approved, victims will get federal funding for temporary housing.

"We give them a check, deposit it into their account that they can use to rent while they're waiting to rebuild and get back into their home," said FEMA coordinator director, Kevin Hanes.

The center will be opened daily from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

See more stories, photos and videos on the Camp Fire in Butte County.
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