Trump issues disaster declaration for California as wildfires rage
President Trump approved a disaster declaration for California as wildfires in the state rage on, funneling federal aid to affected regions.
Those areas include Lake, Napa, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma, and Yolo counties, according to a White House statement.
Hundreds of active fires in those areas have already burned around 1 million acres, according to Cal Fire officials.
The state is also battling two of the largest fires in the state’s history: the 314,000-acre LNU Lightning Complex Fire in the northern Bay Area and Central Valley, and the 291,000-acre SCU Lightning Complex Fire largely east of San Jose.
Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.) said Saturday that almost all firefighting resources in the state are in use. The governor, who often spars with Trump, thanked him for approving the disaster relief.
“Thank you to the President for your partnership and granting this urgent Major Disaster Declaration,” Newsom said in a statement. “California is battling two of the largest fires in our history and has seen nearly 600 new fires in the last week caused by dry lightning strikes. These are unprecedented times and conditions, but California is strong – we will get through this.”
CA’s battling 2 of the largest fires in our history with 585 fires & 12,000 lightning strikes in the last week.
Thank you @realDonaldTrump for your partnership & granting this urgent declaration.
These are unprecedented times but CA’s resilient as hell. We’ll get through this. https://t.co/OvZjEOPS92
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) August 23, 2020
On Thursday, Trump took aim at California officials as wildfires burned in the Bay Area, accusing them of improperly managing flammable debris in state forests leading to fires. During a speech in Pennsylvania, the president blamed the wildfires on “years” of poor forest management in California.
Newsom has said the current wave of fires are due to extraordinary weather in the state, noting that California has recorded more than 11,000 lightning strikes over the past 72 hours.