Trump halts federal funds for Calif. wildfires, forest management

Trump turns up the heat on Pelosi, says he is cutting off funds for CA wildfires

President Trump says he’s cutting off FEMA funding to California over fires

President Donald Trump said he is cutting emergency federal aid sent to help California after devastating wildfires unless the Democratic-led state gets its "act together".

In a tweet, the US President announced he has already ordered the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to withhold funding for the state unless it takes measures to improve forest management. I have ordered FEMA to send no more money.

"It is a disgraceful situation in lives & money!", the tweet says.

November's Camp fire, which obliterated the Northern California town of Paradise, killed 86 people and destroyed more than 13,900 homes.

Trump has repeatedly blamed California officials for failing to manage the state's forests, but numerous areas affected by fire are not forests at all.

It's unclear from the tweet if Trump had already cut off funds or was only threatening to do so.

Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-CA), who represents a district whose residents have been greatly harmed by this year's wildfires, has now issued a statement knocking the president for his declaration that FEMA money should no longer be used to help people whose houses have been burned down by a natural disaster. Many California wildfires are in non-forested areas.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who represents a district in California, condemned Mr. Trump's tweet Wednesday, calling it a "threat insults the memory of scores of Americans who perished in wildfires a year ago & thousands more who lost their homes".

The Republican congressman who represents the Camp Fire region, Doug LaMalfa, said he shares Trump's "great frustration with California's choking regulations" but pushed back on the president over the timing of his tweet. On other occasions Trump has adopted a right-wing conspiracy theory blaming California wildfires on state water policies he pretty clearly does not understand.

FEMA is also impacted by the ongoing partial government shutdown and, as Washington Post reporter Damian Paletta highlighted, doesn't have money to send to the state.

"We have been put in office by the voters to get things done, not to play games with lives", Newsom tweeted.

California utility PG&E exploring filing some or all of its business for bankruptcy protection as it faces billions of dollars in liabilities in connection with fatal wildfires in 2018 and 2017, according to Reuters.

Much of California's forests is federally managed or privately owned, putting them outside the state's authority to manage.

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