Trump Says Has Halted US Funds for California Wildfires, Forest Management

Trump Says Has Halted US Funds for California Wildfires, Forest Management

The tweet has since been replaced with one that spells "forest" correctly.

President Donald Trump told FEMA not to send more disaster funding to fire-ravaged California "unless they get their act together, which is unlikely".

In November, the president blamed poor forest management for the wildfires that wreaked havoc across the state.

Pique at new House Speaker Nancy Pelosi - who, as you may know, is from California - for her refusal to give him his border-wall money is a very likely motive for Trump's sudden focus on last year's wildfire problem and his simplistic and misguided "solution" for it.

Wildfire survivors in Butte, Los Angeles and Ventura counties had been eligible for federal funds. Although he blames the onslaught on forest mismanagement exclusively, it's actually a much more complicated issue - weather, climate change, human-building, and mismanagement are all to blame. State and local agencies control only 3 percent, and the rest is privately controlled. The state's former top firefighter Ken Pimlott disagrees, saying last month that California leads the nation in clearing away dead trees and thinning areas to remove fuel for fires.

The natural disaster was the deadliest, most destructive wildfire in California history, leaving an overall damage cost of $23 billion, according to German insurance company Munich Re.

The White House did not respond to a request for comment on what specific actions Trump has taken, how they were legally justified and what if anything would be done to help people who are depending on FEMA for food or shelter in the wake of the wildfires. The utility said it's doing all it can to reduce wildfire risks.

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"Declaring disasters is entirely the president's discretion; FEMA only makes recommendations", Fugate said in a phone interview.

In a tweet, Trump accused the state of failing to properly manage its forests. "I would under no circumstances say that Cal Fire and the state of California are neglecting this", he said, referring to the state fire agency.

Trump's tweet came a day after California Governor Gavin Newsom was sworn in.

"When fires strike or the earth shakes, [California] needs to be prepared", Newsom tweeted Tuesday, his first full day in office.

The FEMA website homepage says it is now "actively contacting California Wildfire survivors to determine their housing needs and working diligently to identify additional short-term and long-term housing options". "Attacking victims is yet another low for this president".

State officials have pointed to a variety of factors including some of the hottest years on record amid global warming trends.

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