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Trump reverses course, approves California relief for 6 wildfires

President Donald Trump's administration has changed course and approved a previously rejected California application for disaster relief funds to clean up...

10/18/2020 6:53:00 AM

The Trump administration rejected California’s request for disaster relief funds aimed at cleaning damage from recent wildfires. In the meantime, the state is pursuing other avenues for reimbursement and support.

President Donald Trump's administration has changed course and approved a previously rejected California application for disaster relief funds to clean up...

Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement Friday that he had just got off the phone with Trump who just approved the major disaster declaration.The White House earlier said the Federal Emergency Management Agency rejected the request because it was not supported by data needed for approval.

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The dispute surfaced as a representative of one fire-stricken area warned that time was running out to clean up debris before rain and snow arrived, bringing the threat of mudslides and toxins being washed into a river watershed.Newsom formally submitted a letter to the White House on Sept. 28 asking for a major disaster declaration, said Brian Ferguson, with the governor’s Office of Emergency Services.

“The state plans to appeal the decision and believes we have a strong case that California’s request meets the federal requirements for approval,” Ferguson said in an email to The Associated Press on Friday.The 30-page request described the disasters and pointed out that damage assessments were incomplete because the fires were still raging and access was difficult.

White House spokesman Judd Deere said Friday that California’s request “was not supported by the relevant data” needed for approval and that Trump agreed with a recommendation from the Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator.Ferguson said that in the meantime, the state is pursuing other avenues for reimbursement and support to help individuals and communities recover. He said the costs won’t be known for some time, but could be hundreds of millions of dollars.

Federal major disaster declarations allow for cost-sharing for damage, cleanup and rebuilding between the state and federal governments. They also activate relief programs led by FEMA.Denials of relief are rare and Newsom has previously praised the Trump administration for approving aid related to the fires and the coronavirus pandemic. The White House said Trump quickly approved wildfire relief that was supported by damage estimates.

Among the fires listed in the rejected aid application is the Creek Fire, which erupted in the Sierra Nevada on Sept. 4 and is 60% contained after burning 850 homes and more than 537 square miles (1,391 square kilometers) in Fresno and Madera counties.

Republican state Assemblyman Jim Patterson of Fresno said he has been in consultation with area congressional offices since the denial of the aid request.“I have gotten encouraging response that FEMA is beginning to understand that they may have made a mistake here,” he said.

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Patterson said, however, there was no time to waste on bureaucratic finger-pointing and lauded the state Office of Emergency Services for pushing ahead with funding from a California disaster law in which the state will pay 75% and counties pay 25%.“Obviously, the problem is our clock is ticking and time is running out, and we’re going to see rain pretty soon, snow pretty soon,” he told an online briefing. “If we don’t get into those areas quickly we’re going to miss this window and we’re going to end up seeing mudslides where this toxic debris goes into the San Joaquin River watershed.”

No major new fires were reported statewide early Friday, but warnings of dangerously hot, dry and gusty conditions that can fan fires were expected to remain in effect until the evening. Nearly 9,000 firefighters remain on the lines of 21 fires.Numerous studies have linked bigger wildfires in America to climate change from the burning of coal, oil and gas. Scientists have said climate change has made California much drier, meaning trees and other plants are more flammable.

It has been a disastrous wildfire season in California, with more than 8,500 blazes burning more than 6,400 square miles (16,000 square kilometers) since the start of the year. Thirty-one people have died and some 9,200 buildings have been destroyed.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.

Power restorations began Thursday afternoon and by evening Pacific Gas and Electric said about 30,000 customers were still in the dark — down from about 45,000 the previous night.All electricity was expected to be restored by late Friday, PG&E said.

The utility better targeted outages this time after it was criticized in 2019 for cutting power to about 800,000 customers and leaving about 2 million people in the dark for days.Most of this year’s fires have occurred since mid-August, when an unusual siege of thousands of lightning strikes ignited huge blazes.

Read more: MarketWatch »

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Trump administration denies California relief for 6 firesPresident Trump’s administration rejects California’s request for disaster relief funds aimed at cleaning up the damage from six recent wildfires. The fires are among the siege of deadly and destructive blazes that have scorched the state. Im not from the usa let me give you little trick i learned from our local mayor: he went around all of the rich people who had buisnesses and found every little crime they did and said to them if you dont rebuild the city you will all go to jail guess what happened. They did. The Federal government is responsible & you never mention the fact publicly. The California governordid because you were complaining they were'nt cleaning the FLOOR of the Forest I heard both of you live. You complaining & he telling the truth RE: CLEANING Probably said no because your awesome governor would take the money and give it to illegals. Oh wait, didn't he just give some of the stimulus money to illegals? Should have used that money for your tax payers whom lost everything.

Trump rejects California request for major wildfire assistanceTrump's administration has rejected California's request for a major disaster declaration tied to the Creek Fire and five other catastrophic blazes, a rare move considering the breadth and high-profile nature of the disaster VOTE HIM OUT CALIFORNIA

Trump administration reverses course on California wildfire aidUPDATE: The Trump admin. reverses course Friday and approves California's emergency aid request for recent wildfires that scorched nearly 1.9M acres, destroyed over 3,300 homes and structures and killed at least 3 people.

Trump changes course, approves California relief for 6 firesPresident Trump's administration has reversed course and approved a previously rejected California application for disaster relief funds to clean up damage from six recent wildfires. Wildfires have burned 6,400 square miles in the state this season. The trump admin has no idea of what they are doing, and as soon as they feel the pressure they reverse course, so keep pressuring The request not containing the necessary information for approval was BULLSHIT. Trump approves hurricane disaster approvals for his serf in Florida (GovRonDeSantis) IN A PHONE CALL. Can you folks report on who's a-holish idea it was to disapprove, in the first place ? Looking for votes.

Trump changes course, approves California relief for 6 firesPresident Donald Trump’s administration has reversed course and approved a previously rejected California application for disaster relief funds to clean up damage from six recent wildfires Hey Mister! I wanna get off this ride! Can you stop the ride?! I think I’m gonna be sick! Stop the ride please!! Where’s your story on JoeBiden meeting with execs at Burisma then one year later, having the Ukrainian prosecutor fired? This is not going away. He always changes course when he thinks he's pissed off 'too' many supporters.