Oct 16 (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump approved
California's request for additional wildfire recovery relief,
reversing his administration's earlier denial after intervention
from the state's governor and a key Republican lawmaker.
In an email, White House spokesman Judd Deere said
California Gov. Gavin Newsom and House Minority Leader Kevin
McCarthy, a California Republican, had "presented a convincing
case" for approval of the relief.
Newsom, in a press release, said he was "grateful for
(Trump's) quick response." He had asked the president in
September to declare a major disaster in seven counties affected
by blazes that ignited earlier that month.
Trump had issued a major disaster declaration for some parts
of the state in August, a move that provides federal assistance
for individuals, infrastructure and both emergency and permanent
But several more major fires cropped up across the state the
following month, prompting the state's subsequent request. Some
4.1 million acres have burned in California this year,
shattering a previous record and causing $229 million of damage.
Earlier on Friday, the U.S. Federal Emergency Management
Agency said blazes that ignited in September were not severe
enough to be declared a "major disaster."
Trump's administration and the Democratic-led Golden State
have clashed several times.
Trump has repeatedly blamed deadly wildfires on a failure by
California to clear its forests of dead trees and debris and
threatened to withhold federal assistance.
"They have massive fires again in California," Trump said at
a campaign rally in August. "Maybe we're just going to have to
make them pay for it because they don't listen to us."
In fact, more than half of California's forests fall under
federal management https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-wildfires-forests-insight/california-outpaced-trumps-forest-service-in-wildfire-prevention-work-data-idUSKCN26E2QO
yet the state spends more than the U.S. Forest Service does on
managing those lands to reduce wildfire risk.
(Reporting by Nichola Groom; Editing by David Gregorio)