The Trump administration declined California's request for disaster declaration for 6 fires following massive wildfires

The Trump administration declined California's request for disaster declaration for 6 fires following massive wildfires

October 16, 2020
  • The Trump administration rejected California's request for disaster assistance for six fires after massive wildfires — one of which was the largest one in its history — tore through the state over the last few months.
  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom requested a disaster declaration and financial aid from the federal government in a letter sent on September 28, estimating damages from the fires exceeded $229 million.
  • "The request for a Major Presidential Disaster Declaration for early September fires has been denied by the federal administration," Brian Ferguson, a spokesperson for the Governor's Office of Emergency Services, told CNN Thursday.
  • In Newsom's letter sent at the end of September, the governor emphasized the importance of federal assistance, writing that it was "critical to support physical and economic recovery of California and its communities."
  • "The longer it takes for California and its communities to recover, the more severe, devastating, and irreversible the economic impacts will be," Newsom wrote.
  • Six of the fires that raged throughout the state were among the top 20 largest wildfires recorded in California history. The August Complex fire, located north of San Francisco, scorched a record-breaking 1,029,065 acres, damaging nearly 1,000 structures and killing one.
  • The Trump administration did provide a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration at the end of August in response to the Northern California fires, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency provided Fire Management Assistance Grants to help combat the fires at the time.
  • The state intends to appeal the Trump administration's decision to reject the disaster declaration request, CNN reported.
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