Trump administration rejects state’s request for wildfire relief funds

California

UPDATE: Gov. Newsom announced the federal relief has now been approved, following a phone call with President Trump Friday.

SAN DIEGO – The Trump Administration has rejected California’s major disaster declaration request for recent wildfires in seven counties including the 16,390-acre Valley Fire which burned for much September in the East County.

The state plans to appeal the decision, according to Brian Ferguson, a spokesman for Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Office of Emergency Services. Disaster relief funding was requested as wildfires have devastated parts of California this year, scorching an estimated 4.1 million acres of land, damaging or destroying 9,200 structures and killing 31 people, Cal Fire data shows.

“The severity and magnitude of these fires continue to cause significant impacts to the State and to the affected local jurisdictions, such that recovery efforts remain beyond the State’s capability,” Newsom wrote in a Sept. 28 letter to President Donald Trump.

Newsom’s request included relief after fires in the following counties:

  • Valley Fire, San Diego County
  • El Dorado Fire, San Bernardino County
  • Creek Fire, Fresno and Madera counties
  • Oak Fire, Mendocino County
  • Bobcat Fire, Los Angeles County
  • Slater Fire, Siskiyou County

In a statement, Ferguson said the state’s OES “continues to aggressively pursue other available avenues for reimbursement/support to help individuals and communities impacted by these fires rebuild and recover.”

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