Trump halts federal funding to fight California wildfires

Frederick Owens
January 9, 2019

"Billions of dollars are sent to the State of California for Forrest fires that, with proper Forrest Management, would never happen", the president tweeted, twice misspelling forest.

The tweet states that the president has ordered FEMA to stop sending money "unless they get their act together", which the president calls "unlikely". "It is a disgraceful situation in lives and money!"

In his initial tweet, Trump spelled the word "forest" with two Rs, apparently not in reference to Forrest Gump.

In a tweet, Trump accused the state of failing to properly manage its forests.

Last April, Trump falsely stated that the California government is diverting river water into the Pacific Ocean that could be used to fight forest fires, but he also signaled he will fast-track federal help.

President Trump says he has ordered a stoppage of federal emergency aid to California, blaming the state for not managing its forests.

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Critics on social media questioned whether Trump could legally withhold FEMA money that has already been appropriated. "The people of CA ― folks in Paradise ― should not be victims to partisan bickering". White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders did not immediately respond to Newsweek's request for comment. The Camp Fire - which killed 86 people, more than any other in the state's history - appears to have started in the Plumas National Forest.

However, Fugate said that federal law gives Trump the authority to determine whether to issue disaster declarations for future wildfires. Newsom asked for $105 million to improve wildfire safety on Tuesday.

In this file photo taken on November 10, 2018 Flames from the Camp fire burn near a home atop a ridge near Big Bend, California.

Democratic Congressman Raúl Grijalva, the new chairman of the Natural Resources Committee, said Trump "knows how to govern only by threats".

Trump started this fire and he'll have to figure out some way to put it out that doesn't just look like a nasty jab at the nation's largest state. FEMA is also impacted by the ongoing partial government shutdown and, as Washington Post reporter Damian Paletta highlighted, doesn't have money to send to the state.

In a tweet, Harris noted that Californians endured the deadliest wildfire in the state's history a year ago.

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