Donald Trump Is Back on California’s Case About “Forrest” Fires

Despite an ornery tweet, Californians can still apply for FEMA funds
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The morning after an Oval Office press conference that allegedly garnered “soooo many nice comments” (an actual quote from the leader of the free world), Donald Trump woke up with a bee in his bonnet.

Earlier this morning, the President took to Twitter to announce that he’s ordered FEMA to stop sending funds to disaster victims in California unless the state “gets [its] act together.” In his initial tweet, which has since been taken down and replaced with the following, he misspelled forest as “Forrest”—twice.

Politico’s Matthew Choi reported that, as of this morning, FEMA news desk manager Michael Hart was “scrambling to understand what exactly Trump’s tweet would entail.” FEMA’s website isn’t currently being updated because of the shutdown—a notice on the site says “Due to the lapse in federal funding, this website will not be actively managed. This website was last updated on December 21, 2018 and will not be updated until after funding is enacted.”—but Hart said the agency would issue a follow-up to the tweet once they know what’s what.

Trump has repeatedly blamed California’s forest fires on improper forest management, which he appears to equate with a failure at the state level to clear underbrush. At the moment, 60 percent of California’s forest land is federally managed.

In 2018, California was plagued by deadly wildfires. The Camp Fire—the deadliest in California history—killed 86 people and burned upward of 153,000 acres. The Woolsey Fire, which burned parts of Los Angeles and Ventura counties in November, destroyed 96,000 acres and resulted in three civilian deaths and three firefighter injuries.

Prominent California Democrats, including newly inaugurated Governor Gavin Newsom, were quick to clap back at Trump’s tweet.


Just yesterday it was announced that FEMA would be extending the deadline for fire victims to submit applications for disaster relief (which they can do at disasterassistance.gov) to January 31. To date, the agency has paid out $48.7 million in aid to victims of the most recent fires.


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