October 16, 2020 2:05pm


Trump, Newsom, wildfire briefing Sept. 14, 2020
AP Photo

Update The Trump Administration has reversed its decision to reject California’s request for wildfire disaster relief funds. “Just got off the phone with President Trump who has approved our Major Disaster Declaration request,” tweeted California Gov. Gavin Newsom. “Grateful for his quick response.”

The reversal was made today by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, according to Newsom’s office. A financial amount for the disaster relief funds to help clean up the devastation from the recent and in some cases still-burning wildfires has not been specified.

Just got off phone with @realDonaldTrump who has approved our Major Disaster Declaration request.

Grateful for his quick response.

— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) October 16, 2020

Previous The state of California will appeal the Trump administration’s decision to reject a disaster relief request for damage caused by the six fires that burned 1.8 million acres of land.

“The request for a Major Presidential Disaster Declaration for early September fires has been denied by the federal administration,” said Brian Ferguson, a spokesman for the governor’s office of emergency services, yesterday, adding that the state will appeal the decision.

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The president has repeatedly blamed forest mismanagement for the fires, shrugging his shoulders at the certainty of climate change. When meeting with California officials recently, Trump publicly stated that he doesn’t “think science knows” about the cause of the fires.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has requested the disaster relief by citing more than $229 million in infrastructure damage from the fires in Los Angeles, San Diego, San Bernardino, Siskiyou, Mendocino, Fresno and Madera counties.

Just yesterday, the National Weather Service issued additional Red Flag Warnings and Fire Weather Watches to alert California fire departments of “the onset, or possible onset, of critical weather and dry conditions that could lead to rapid or dramatic increases in wildfire activity.” The Warning was to be in effect for 24 hours, while the Watch can cover up to 72 hours.

Cal Fire noted that the Creek Fire in Fresno County has now burned more than 341,722 acres, with 58% containment.