Trump administration rejects California's request for wildfire disaster assistance, reports say

Trump administration rejects California's request for wildfire disaster assistance, reports say

The Trump administration has rejected California's request for a disaster declaration for six destructive wildfires that burned hundreds of thousands of acres across the state, including a massive central California wildfire that has become the single largest in state history.

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.

Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom formally submitted a letter to the White House on September 28 asking for a major disaster declaration, said Brian Ferguson, with the governors Office of Emergency Services.

The state had planned to appeal the denial and believed it had a strong case, Brian Ferguson, a spokesman with the governor's Office of Emergency Services, said before the reversal. "California did not ask for a specific dollar amount because damage estimates are not complete".

Trump has repeatedly blamed deadly wildfires on a failure by California to clear its forests of dead trees and debris and threatened to withhold federal assistance.

As the Chronicle reports, President Trump - who has previously okayed disaster aid for California fires - apparently agreed with FEMA's assessment (or directed it).

"The more recent and separate California submission was not supported by the relevant data that States must provide for approval and the President concurred with the FEMA Administrator's recommendation", Deere said.

ABC News has reached out to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for comment.

"The true cost won't be known for months or years afterward", he said.

NationNews Barbados: Gayle shines with 53 on IPL return
RCB have won five of their eight games on the back of all-round performances but blundered tactically against KXIP on Thursday. That gamble didn't pay off either as the 41-year-old Jamaican smashed the young off-spinner for four sixes.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency issued a decision Thursday denying a major disaster declaration for six wildfires across the state, saying that damage from the six blazes didn't meet a threshold of severity for the declaration.

Denials of relief are rare and Newsom, a Democrat, has previously praised the Republican administration for approving aid related to the fires and the coronavirus pandemic.

The Creek Fire alone - the state's largest-ever single fire, not counting fire complexes - damaged more than 550 structures and forced almost 25,000 people to evacuate, according to Gov. Gavin Newsom.

This year, wildfires have burned over 1.6 million hectares in California - twice the total of 2018 which had been the highest on record.

Thousands of Northern California residents remained without electricity Friday after a utility cut off service to prevent the latest round of powerful winds from damaging equipment and sparking wildfires amid a fall heat wave.

All electricity was expected to be restored by late Friday after the second round of hot, dry gusts this week moved through the region and raised the risk of fires, PG&E said.

The causes of two fires that broke out in September remain under investigation.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

Related Articles