President Donald Trump blamed “poor” land management for the deadly wildfires consuming thousands of structures and more than 140,000 acres across California. The president also threatened to cut off federal payments if the problem isn’t fixed.
There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor. Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 10, 2018
“There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor,” Trump tweeted Saturday morning.
The cost of firefighting has increased dramatically in recent years, hitting a record $1.1 billion in 2017. Trump recently signed “fire funding fix” legislation to give federal agencies $2.25 billion to fight fires starting in 2020. That amount would increase to nearly $3 billion by 2027.
Now, Trump is threatening to restrict California’s wildfire funding if actions aren’t taken to limit fires — a problem for California Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom, a Democrat.
Newsom beat Republican businessman John Cox in Tuesday’s election, and he moved quickly to ask Trump for federal assistance. Trump approved California’s disaster declaration Friday, allowing federal and state officials to coordinate more closely and free up more resources to deal with the blazes.