FEMA and Trump Administration Deny California's Request For Disaster Relief After Wildfires

The national forecast for Oct. 13 2020

The national forecast for Oct. 13 2020

The Trump administration's rejection of California's aid request means that it will not provide disaster relief funds to help clean up damage from six massive fires that have burned nearly two million acres and destroyed nearly 1,000 homes.

At a rally in Pennsylvania in August, for instance, Trump seemed to telegraph that he might reject California's requests for wildfire aid: "Maybe we're just going to have to make them pay for it because they don't listen to us".

In fact, more than half of California's forests fall under federal management https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-wildfires-forests-insight/california-outpaced-trumps-forest-service-in-wildfire-prevention-work-data-idUSKCN26E2QO yet the state spends more than the U.S. Forest Service does on managing those lands to reduce wildfire risk. The president has frequently criticized the state for what he calls poor forest management that has exacerbated the severity of recent fires. Trump replied: "I don't think science knows" what is happening.

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Among the fires that California was fighting in September included the Creek Fire - which grew into the largest wildfire in state history by burning more than 340,000 acres - and the El Dorado Fire, which was sparked in Southern California by a gender reveal party.

State officials said they would appeal the rare rejection, which came after 4.1 million acres burned this year, shattering a previous record and causing $229 million of damage.

"Federal assistance is critical to support physical and economic recovery of California and its communities", he wrote. This latest request was for federal aid for statewide disaster mitigation, as well as public assistance for seven counties hit by smaller fires in September - The six fires targeted under the declaration include the Valley Fire in San Diego County, the El Dorado Fire in San Bernardino County, the Slater Fire in Siskiyou County, the Oak Fire in Mendocino County, the Bobcat Fire in Los Angeles County, and the Creek Fire in Fresno and Madera counties. So far, damage estimates include 856 structures.

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