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Trump threatens to yank funds for California wildfire recovery

Trump threatens to yank funds for California wildfire recovery”

When the fires broke out, Trump blamed California's poor forest management and threatened to withhold federal funding if the state didn't change its practices.

President Trump on Wednesday said he has ordered the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to stop sending money to California to deal with forest fires "unless they get their act together".

In a Wednesday morning tweet, Trump complained that "billions of dollars" are sent to California to combat forest fires, but claimed that with "proper Forest Management (sic)" the fires would "never happen".

"It is a disgraceful situation in lives & money!", the tweet says.

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On other occasions Trump has adopted a right-wing conspiracy theory blaming California wildfires on state water policies he pretty clearly does not understand.

KCAL-TV reported that FEMA has already approved more than $48.7 million in funds to 6,646 applicants affected by the Camp and Woolsey Fires that devastated the state a year ago.

Trump's tweet today comes as he faces heat over the ongoing government shutdown, in which FEMA is partially affected.

"We are at a point where everybody's had enough and we need to, I think, make sure we are prepared more than ever for the next few months as we enter into the height of our fire season", Newsom said at a press conference with California's Office of Emergency Services officials. If Trump chose not to issue such declarations, it would prevent FEMA from providing financial assistance to state and local authorities, as well as victims of those fires.

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The House Republican minority leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy also is from California.

Massive wildfires have become more common in parts of California, which experts attribute to years of fuel build-up and people moving into fire-prone areas.

Daryl Osby, the Los Angeles County Fire Chief, said in November: "We're in extreme climate change now". He has said he'll hold back federal dollars for fire disasters before, but has not executed on that threat. But he tweeted he thinks that is "unlikely". 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. Wildfires ravaged California in November, leaving at least 89 dead and thousands of people displaced. The House, newly under Democrats' control, is planning to vote on a package as soon as next week.

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