The White House has turned down the request for federal assistance tabled by Gov. Gavin Newsom of California. The governor sent the letter to the administration on September 28 stating the costs of repairs needed as a result of the six huge wildfires that have ravaged California this year, CNN reports.
The California state government announced that there are plans to appeal the outcome of the request. According to Newsom’s spokesperson, federal assistance will go a long way in helping the state recover from the effects of the wildfire.
“The federal administration has turned down California’s request for a major Presidential Disaster Declaration,” said Brian Ferguson, spokesperson on Emergency Services for the office of the governor.
Newsom stipulated in the letter that the repair of damaged infrastructures will take approximately $229 million. He stated that the state needs federal assistance in combating the devastation wrecked by the wildfires. This year, California recorded its biggest wildfire in history.
“Without federal support, it will be very difficult for California to recover from the devastation we have experienced,” Gov. Newsom announced. “The longer we wait before handling the devastating, the more difficult recovery will be in our infrastructures and economy.”
California has experienced six different wildfires including the largest in the history of the country this year. The Creek Fire burnt 341,772 acres in parts of Madera and Fresno counties, and it was added to the disaster declaration submitted to the president. Other wildfires included are The Bobcat Fire in Los Angeles County, The Eldorado Fire in San Bernardino, The Valley Fire in San Diego, The Slater Fire in Siskiyou, and the Oak Fire in Mendocino.
Cal Fire announced that the state has witnessed 8,320 wildfires that have destroyed 4,124,656 acres with a death toll of 31 since the first fire in 2020. Over 9,200 structures have been destroyed by the wildfires.
California as a stronghold of the Democrats has always had a history of challenges with President Trump. Trump paid a visit to California in September and continuously hammered on the need to clear away dead trees which he insisted were feeding the fires. The president did not address the role of climate change in the incessant wildfires.
Wade Crowfoot, secretary of the California natural resources agency issued a warning about the risks associated with ignoring science like the president was doing. Crowfoot stated that the fires will not end if the government addresses forest management alone without thinking about climate change. The president had assured Crowfoot that the fires would end.
Gov. Newsom submitted his requests in a letter on September 28. In the letter, he requested a major disaster declaration stating that California experienced five out of six of its most destructive wildfires in 2020. The Complex Fire, which is just 77% contained, is the most destructive wildfire ever recorded. It started on August 16 and has ravaged more than 1 million acres of land in seven counties in northern California.
The Governor announced that the solicited funds would be used to repair ravaged roads, signs, fire shelters, parks, and public infrastructure. He also stated that many of the counties and communities in the state are still battling the effects of storms, wildfires, and the COVID-19 pandemic.