The Trump administration has rejected California’s request for disaster relief funds aimed at cleaning up the damage from six recent fires across the state, including Los Angeles County’s Bobcat fire, San Bernardino County’s El Dorado fire, and the Creek fire, one of the largest that continues to burn in Fresno and Madera counties.
The decision came late Wednesday or early Thursday when the administration denied a request from Gov. Gavin Newsom for a major presidential disaster declaration, said Brian Ferguson, deputy director of crisis communication and media relations for the governor’s Office of Emergency Services.
Ferguson could not provide a reason for the federal government’s denial.
President Trump has threatened to withhold federal dollars in aid before, including in 2019 unless state officials “get their act together, which is unlikely.”
A major disaster declaration allows for cost-sharing for damage, cleanup, and rebuilding between the state and the federal government. It also activates federal programs led by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
California did not ask for a specific dollar amount because damage estimates are not complete, Ferguson said.
“The true cost won’t be known for months or years afterward,” he said.
He added: “What the state is looking for is the highest level of federal support, which requires the highest bars be cleared. But we feel our case for those requirements has been met.”
Our case for those requirements has been met.”