The Trump administration has rejected California’s request for disaster assistance for the unprecedented fires that have burned more than 1.8 million acres in the land, destroyed thousands of structures and caused at least three deaths, a state official said.

Iran Press/America: “The request for a Major Presidential Disaster Declaration for early September fires has been denied by the federal administration,” Brian Ferguson, a spokesman for the governor’s office of emergency services, said late Thursday.

The state plans to appeal the decision, Ferguson said, adding that the state believes it has a “strong case that California’s request meets the federal requirements for approval.”

The aid rejection came weeks after President Trump visited California after a period of silence on its wildfires and blamed poor forest management, not climate change, for the crisis. “I don’t think science knows” what is happening, he said, when the state’s secretary for natural resources pressed him.

Infrastructure damage estimates from the fires had exceeded $229 million, Gov. Gavin Newsom of California said, and “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 capabilities.”

According to Cal Fire, the state’s fire agency, as of Thursday the Creek Fire has burned more than 341,000 acres and is 58 percent contained.

Managing wildfires has become an ongoing task for firefighters, officials and residents. Since the beginning of the year, more than 8,500 wildfires have burned over 4.1 million acres in California, the agency said in its statewide fire summary on Thursday. The total number of statewide deaths related to these fires is at least 31, it said.

While the state did not include a specific dollar amount in its request, Newsom wrote that because of a recession induced by the pandemic, California went from a projected $5.6 billion budget surplus to a $54.3 billion projected deficit. “California’s economy is suffering in a way we have not seen since the 2009 Great Recession,” he said.


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