California Gov. Gavin NewsomGavin NewsomPorter raises .2 million in third quarter Overnight Health Care: Barrett says she’s ‘not hostile’ toward Affordable Care Act | Nominee says she doesn’t classify Roe v Wade as ‘superprecedent’ | Eli Lilly pauses study of COVID-19 treatment over safety concerns What the REFORM Alliance’s victory means for criminal justice reform MORE’s (D) office said the Trump administration rejected the state’s request for a disaster declaration following six wildfires that tore through the state earlier this year, including the largest single blaze in the state’s history.
“The request for a Major Presidential Disaster Declaration for early September fires has been denied by the federal administration,” Brian Ferguson, a spokesperson for the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, told CNN.
The Hill has reached out to the White House and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for comment.
State officials are planning to appeal the decision.
Newsom penned a letter to President TrumpDonald John TrumpFeds investigating if alleged Hunter Biden emails connected to foreign intelligence operation: report Six takeaways from Trump and Biden’s dueling town halls Biden draws sharp contrast with Trump in low-key town hall MORE on Sept. 28, requesting the disaster declaration following a string of wildfires.
The governor noted that the state’s economy had been “significantly damaged” by the COVID-19 pandemic, the major wildfires and poor air quality. He wrote that infrastructure damage estimates exceeded $229 million.
“Federal assistance is critical to support physical and economic recovery of California and its communities,” Newsom wrote. “The longer it takes for California and its communities to recover, the more severe, devastating and irreversible the economic impacts will be.”
The governor wrote that the pandemic-related restrictions and social distancing had interfered with typical evacuation procedures, requiring the state to use hotel rooms instead of congregate shelters.
“Californians are exhausted,” Newsom wrote.
The Creek Fire, the largest wildfire in the state’s history, which has scorched 341,722 acres across Fresno and The Bobcat Fire burned another 115,796 acres.
The El Dorado Fire, which was started by a pyrotechnic device used to generate colored smoke for a gender reveal party, has burned more than 22,000 acres in the San Bernardino National Forest.
The three other wildfires in the request were the Valley Fire in San Diego County, the Oak Fire in Mendocino County and the Slater Fire in Siskiyou County.
More than 4 million acres of California has burned in wildfires this year, a record more than double the state’s previous record for the most area burned in a single season, a Cal Fire spokesman said earlier this month.
As of Thursday, there were 21 active wildfires across the state. The statewide fatalities is 31 since the beginning of the year and more than 9,200 structures have been destroyed.
The denied request highlights Trump’s contentious relationship with Newsom and other Democratic leaders in the state.
Trump approved a major disaster declaration for California in August, but the president has also claimed the fires are due to years of poor forest management in the state.
Last month, the president dismissed evidence pointed to by Newsom of climate change’s role in the state’s continuing wildfires.
“Honestly, he’s been very nice with the words which is good,” Trump said of Newsom. “But I said you’ve got to manage this. It’s a management thing. He said, ‘no, it’s global warming.’ I said, ‘when the leaves build up and you have a floor of leaves and the trees fall down and you don’t remove them because the environmentalists don’t want you to touch the tree, within 18 months that tree becomes like a matchstick.’ “
Los Angeles Mayor Eric GarcettiEric GarcettiNewsom’s EV executive order will help make California breathable again Jennifer Aniston, Brad Pitt join celebrity table read of ‘Fast Times at Ridgemont High’ for coronavirus relief LA mayor condemns protesters shouting ‘death to police’ outside hospital treating ambushed officers MORE (D) slammed Trump in September for his response to the wildfires, saying Trump needs to focus on helping Americans in need, regardless of party, instead of basing decisions “on an electoral map.”
“We need leadership that is equal across this country,” Garcetti said.
“We need actual help, not based on our party affiliation or how we voted,” he added.