California governor declares state of emergency in multiple counties as wildfires rage
California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) on Sunday declared a state of emergency for five counties due to the increasing danger posed by three wildfires currently burning in the state, which have forced thousands to evacuate.
In a statement, Newsom noted that tens of thousands of acres have been burned by three fires, the Creek Fire, El Dorado Fire and Valley Fire, and added that the state was working with federal authorities for assistance.
“Governor Newsom has declared a statewide emergency due to the widespread fires and extreme weather conditions, and secured a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration to bolster the state’s emergency response to the Northern California wildfires,” the governor’s office said in a statement.
“California has also secured Fire Management Assistance Grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to support the state’s response to fires burning in Santa Clara, Stanislaus, Santa Cruz, San Mateo, Napa, Nevada, Lake, Solano, Yolo and Monterey counties,” it continued.
Governor @GavinNewsom issued an emergency proclamation for the counties of Fresno, Madera and Mariposa due to the #CreekFire; for San Bernardino County due to the #ElDoradoFire; and for San Diego County due to the #ValleyFire. https://t.co/fjoEuF8lW0
— Office of the Governor of California (@CAgovernor) September 7, 2020
Newsom previously declared a statewide emergency situation last month over ongoing wildfires and weather that authorities warned was driving and spreading the blazes.
“We are deploying every resource available to keep communities safe as California battles fires across the state during these extreme conditions,” Newsom said in August. “California and its federal and local partners are working in lockstep to meet the challenge and remain vigilant in the face of continued dangerous weather conditions.”
The fires have once again drawn criticism of California authorities from President Trump, who has frequently blamed state officials for poor forest debris management that he has argued is a major reason for the state’s frequent wildfires.
“I see again, the forest fires are starting,” Trump said last month, days before signing a presidential disaster declaration for the state. “They’re starting again in California. And I said, you’ve got to clean your floors. You’ve got to clean your floors.”
“I’ve been telling them this now for three years, but they don’t want to listen,” he added at the time.