The Trump administration has rejected California’s request for a disaster declaration for a series of six wildfires that started last month.
ABC News, CNN and Politico say that a spokesperson with the California Office of Emergency Services claimed the Trump administration rejected the state’s request for emergency assistance.
“The request for a Major Presidential Disaster Declaration for early September fires has been denied by the federal administration,” Brian Ferguson said.
It’s unclear why the Trump administration denied the request.
Among the fires that California was fighting in September included the Creek Fire — which grew into the largest wildfire in state history by burning more than 340,000 acres — and the El Dorado Fire, which was sparked in Southern California by a gender reveal party.
In September, California Gov. Gavin Newsom wrote that damage from the wildfires exceeds $229 million. At least one person died fighting the El Dorado Fire.
While experts have said that drought and heatwaves brought on by climate change, as well as the expansion of housing tracts into fire areas, are the main causes of what has been an extremely active wildfire season, Trump has blamed California’s “forest management.” He claims that dry leaves on the ground of forests need to be swept up to prevent large-scale fires.
During a visit to California for a round table discussion on wildfires in September, Trump denied the role of climate change in wildfires, despite pushback from Newsom.