Trump sends disaster relief to California wildfires

Trump sends disaster relief to California wildfires
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpWarren defends, Buttigieg attacks in debate that shrank the field Five takeaways from the Democratic debate in Ohio Democrats debate in Ohio: Who came out on top? MORE on Monday signed a major disaster declaration for the areas affected by the ongoing wildfires in California, following through on a request made over the weekend by California Gov. Jerry Brown (D). 

The declaration orders an increase in federal aid to supplement state, local and tribal areas in Butte, Los Angeles and Ventura counties. 

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"I just approved an expedited request for a Major Disaster Declaration for the State of California," Trump tweeted on Monday night. "Wanted to respond quickly in order to alleviate some of the incredible suffering going on. I am with you all the way. God Bless all of the victims and families affected."

The disaster relief funds will include grants, loans and programs to help individuals recover after their homes were lost in the wildfires ravaging northern and southern areas of California. The money can cover temporary housing, home repairs and property losses, the official declaration states.   

The wildfire has killed at least 31 people, with nearly 230 people missing in Northern California. Officials say the fires are the most destructive and third-deadliest so far in the state's history. 

Trump over the weekend blamed California officials for the deadly fires, pointing a finger at the "gross mismanagement" of the forests by state officials. Fire experts and lawmakers quickly pointed out that the federal government oversees more than half of California's forests, and most fires in the past year have occurred on federal government-managed land. 

The president has also slashed the budget for agencies that oversee forest management in the state.

Brown during a Sunday press conference called the wildfires ravaging the state "the new abnormal," warning environmental disasters will only "intensify" over the next two decades. 

"This is not the new normal," Brown said at the press conference. "This is the new abnormal, and this new abnormal will continue, certainly in the next 10, 15, 20 years."

"Unfortunately, the best science is telling us that dryness, warmth, drought, all those things, they’re going to intensify," he added.

Brown has previously slammed the Trump administration over its approach to climate change. Trump has cast doubt on whether climate change is caused by human activities, though studies consistently show that around 97 percent of climate scientists agree climate-warming trends are likely linked to human activities, according to NASA