UPDATE: Trump administration approves state’s request for disaster declaration as crews battle fires

State News

UPDATE (Aug. 22): Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on Saturday that the White House has approved California’s request for a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration to bolster the state’s emergency response to the recent wildfires.

“Thank you to the president for your partnership and granting this urgent Major Disaster Declaration,” Newsom said. “California is battling two of the largest fires in our history and has seen nearly 600 new fires in the last week caused by dry lightning strikes. These are unprecedented times and conditions, but California is strong – we will get through this.”

The state said the declaration will help people in the impacted counties obtain crisis counseling, housing and unemployment assistance and legal services, depending on eligibility. It also provides federal assistance to help state, tribal and local governments fund emergency response, recovery and protective measures.


SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KGET) – California is requesting a major disaster declaration from the Trump administration as fire crews battle two of the largest wildfires in state history.

State emergency management leaders say wildfires this week scorched 771,000 acres in California that’s larger than the size of Rhode Island.

Governor Gavin Newsom says the state needs more help with now nearly 600 fires burning.

“Our first responders have been stretched thin, everywhere throughout the state,” Shana Jones, Cal Fire Unit Leader, said. 

As crews tried to control fires Friday, California leaders say more help is on the way.

10 states are sending in additional engines and crews on the ground, while California is using some private contractors to help the fight from the air.

Governor Newsom’s administration has also requested firefighting help from Canada and Australia.

“I want to thank the Trump Administration,” Newsom said. 

A day after President Trump threatened to withhold funding from California for not cleaning up its forests, Governor Newsom confirmed FEMA extended five federal grants to help with the cost of fighting the state’s larger wildfires — grants the president signed.

California is seeking a major disaster declaration from president trump, which Newsom says would give the state some relief with so many of its resources overwhelmed.

“There’s not one phone call I’ve made to the President where he hasn’t quickly responded and in almost every instance, he’s responded favorably,” Newsom said. 

State leaders say lightning strikes are to blame for many of the blazes after 12,000 struck the state this week.

The SCU and LNU Lightning Complex fires burning in Northern California are now the 7th and 10th largest recorded wildfires in state history.

Both have burned nearly half a million acres combined. 

Those are just two of the 20 major fires swallowing property across the state.

“I hope for good news, but it’s going to take a long time. We are not out of the woods,” Jones said. 

FEMA records show President Trump has issued major disaster declarations in California every year he’s been in office, most of them for wildfires.

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