The Trump administration has rejected California’s request for disaster relief funds aimed at cleaning up the damage from six recent fires across the state, including Los Angeles County’s Bobcat fire, San Bernardino County’s El Dorado fire, and the Creek fire, one of the largest that continues to burn in Fresno and Madera counties.
The move could heighten tensions between California and the president over wildfires. California saw record fires this year, fueled by several factors including climate change. Trump has repeatedly criticized California for its handling of fire policy, sometimes with misleading claims, and had rejected the role of rising temperatures as a factor.
More than 4 million acres burned in 2020, more than double the state’s previous record. The fires this year have burned an area larger than the state of Connecticut and killed 31 people.
The decision came to light when the administration denied a request from Gov. Gavin Newsom for a major presidential disaster declaration, said Brian Ferguson, deputy director of crisis communication and media relations for the governor’s Office of Emergency Services.