Published: Wed, January 09, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Trump threatens to cut FEMA funding for California wildfire relief

Trump threatens to cut FEMA funding for California wildfire relief

On Nov. 10, 2018, just days before he toured areas of California damaged by fires, Trump blamed the state's "poor" forest management for the devastation. I have ordered FEMA to send no more money. "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.

But in the latest example of the President's Twitter misspellings, "forest" became "forrest" and soon enough, "forrest Trump".

Trump also at one point linked imports of Canadian lumber to the deadly California wildfires, which forced thousands to flee from their homes. "No matter how many people with rakes they deploy, forests are going to burn because of longer, hotter summers due to climate chaos". "I'm already taking action to modernize and manage our forests and emergency responses".

Trump's tweet came a day after California Governor Gavin Newsom was sworn in. "The people of CA - folks in Paradise", a community that was among the hardest hit by the Camp Fire past year, "should not be victims to partisan bickering". White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders did not immediately respond to Newsweek's request for comment.

In a tweet Wednesday morning, Trump continued his line of criticism he's repeated since fire season: that improper forest management, not climate change, is to blame for the destructive wildfires California has seen recently. Jay Inslee and Kate Brown of Washington and OR, respectively, sent a letter to the president asking him to double federal funding for forest management. FEMA is also impacted by the ongoing partial government shutdown and, as Washington Post reporter Damian Paletta highlighted, doesn't have money to send to the state.

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The 2018 wildfire season in California was the worst in living memory, consuming almost 2 million acres of land, killing 87 people, destroying tens of thousands of homes, requiring an estimated $3 billion in public expenditures for debris removal, and costing insurance companies over $9 billion in payments.

California officials generally agree; the Legislature last fall earmarked $1 billion over five years for forest management, while Newsom on Tuesday called on lawmakers to put an additional $105 million into the budget for firefighting efforts.

In a tweet, Harris noted that Californians endured the deadliest wildfire in the state's history past year.

"He's never played politics with disaster declarations and we're grateful for that", Newsom said.

California was devastated by a series of rapidly moving fires late previous year.

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