After initially refusing California’s request for federal financial help to recover from the worst fire season on record, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that the Trump administration changed course.
“Just got off the phone with President Trump who has approved our Major Disaster Declaration request. Grateful for his quick response,” Newsom said in a statement.
In recent months, California has been plagued by near-constant wildfires. The disasters have killed 31 people, destroyed 9,200 buildings, and caused an estimated $229 million in damage, according to Newsom’s office.
The disaster declaration will allow for “cost-sharing for staffing, damage, cleanup, and rebuilding between the state and federal government,” according to the Los Angeles Times. “It also activates federal programs led by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.”
Among the recent blazes included in the disaster declaration request are the Bobcat and El Dorado fires, the latter of which was sparked by a pyrotechnic device at a gender reveal party, as well as the Creek fire, the largest in the state’s history, burning upward of 341,000 acres. Upward of 4 million acres have been scorched this year.
Trump has repeatedly refused to attribute California’s fires to the scourge of climate change. During a visit to California in September, Trump told Governor Newsom and other state officials: “It’ll start getting cooler. You just watch.”