Trump threatens to halt emergency fire aid for California

Leroy Wright
January 10, 2019

The tweet has since been replaced with one that spells "forest" correctly.

US President Donald Trump has threatened to cut off Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) aid to California in the wake of devastating wildfires there, saying that the state first needs to "get their act together". I have ordered FEMA to send no more money. "It is a disgraceful situation in lives and money!"

"There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor", Trump tweeted.

But this didn't stop people on Twitter from imagining Tom Hanks, who played the eponymous Forrest Gump, in lieu of forest management.

Pelosi slammed Trump's latest threat, tweeting that it "insults the memory of scores of Americans who perished in wildfires a year ago". He also joined Washington Governor Jay Inslee and Oregon Governor Kate Brown in a letter to Trump asking the administration to double its investments in taking care of federal land in Western states.

California's Democratic politicians blasted Trump for his threat. The White House and FEMA did not immediately respond to requests for comment Wednesday.

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Trump has repeatedly blamed California officials for failing to manage the state's forests, but numerous areas affected by fire are not forests at all.

Wildfire survivors in Butte, Los Angeles and Ventura counties had been eligible for federal funds.

However, Fugate said that federal law gives Trump the authority to determine whether to issue disaster declarations for future wildfires.

Newsom, a Democrat who took office Monday, said Californians affected by wildfires "should not be victims to partisan bickering". "Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!" he tweeted during the Camp Fire, which killed 86 people, burned 153,000 acres of land and destroyed almost 14,000 homes. Other parts of Newsom's plan include an update to the state's 911 system and improved emergency response strategies.

Much of California's forests is federally managed or privately owned, putting them outside the state's authority to manage.

Insurance claims from the recent spate of California wildfires have topped $9 billion and are expected to grow, the state insurance commissioner reported last month.

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