Sunday, 08 December, 2019

Trump says has halted US funds for California wildfires, forest management

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gavin Newsom elected governor of California Trump says has halted US funds for California wildfires, forest management
Deanna Wagner | 09 January, 2019, 22:07

President Donald Trump threatened to cut federal forest fire aid to California as the state recovers from the country's deadliest wildfire in a century.

Trump has made similar threats about FEMA funds before, saying in November that he might pull money for disaster relief because of what he called the state's "gross mismanagement of the forests" - although Trump's critics have pointed out that the federal government controls 60 percent of the forest land in California.

"Billions of dollars are sent to the State of California for Forest fires that, with proper Forest Management, would never happen", Trump wrote on Twitter, a day after western governors asked for greater federal investment in fire prevention. Eventually, #ForrestTrump even started trending.

"Disasters and recovery are no time for politics", Newsom added in a subsequent tweet. "The people of CA - folks in Paradise", a community that was among the hardest hit by the Camp Fire previous year, "should not be victims to partisan bickering".

Numerous wildfires that afflicted California late a year ago were wholly or partly on federal land, according to data from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

November's fire in the northern California town of Paradise was the deadliest USA wildfire in a century, killing at least 85 people and destroying almost 14,000 homes.

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The city's mayor, Solly Msimanga, sent his condolences to the victims' families via his official Twitter account. We can not lose any more lives, there needs to be some kind of upgrade in terms of signalling that is in here".

FEMA is part of the Department of Homeland Security, whose operations are affected by the partial government shutdown, which entered its 19th day on Wednesday.

The California governor joined those of OR and Washington in asking the White House for more federal funding and assistance with forest management. The state owns 3% of the forests in Cal.

This isn't the first time the US President has lashed out at California for its handling of the destructive wildfires.

California utility PG&E exploring filing some or all of its business for bankruptcy protection as it faces billions of dollars in liabilities in connection with fatal wildfires in 2018 and 2017, according to Reuters.

Many California wildfires are in non-forested areas.

The freakish proclamation furthers the administration's attempt to pin the devastation on environmentalists while ignoring the clear impact climate change is having on extreme fires out west.