Trump halts federal funds for Calif. wildfires, forest management

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FEMA is part of the Department of Homeland Security, whose operations are affected by the partial government shutdown, which entered its 19th day on Wednesday.

This is actually a revised tweet; the first version spelled Forest as "Forrest".

As California works to recover from the deadliest and most destructive wildfire season in its recorded history, President Donald Trump declared in a tweet on Wednesday that he has "ordered" the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to cut off federal funding unless the state's officials "get their act together". "It is a disgraceful situation in lives & money!"

"Billions of dollars are sent to the State of California for Forest fires that, with proper Forest Management, would never happen", Trump wrote on Twitter, a day after western governors asked for greater federal investment in fire prevention.

As is always the possible case, White House social media director Dan Scavino, who sometimes tweets from Trump, could have shared the now deleted language containing the spelling error. He has also said that the Finnish president told him that Finland did not have forest fires because its citizens spent time raking the forest floor, although the Finnish president denied ever talking to Mr. Trump about raking. Cutting off the state entirely from assistance available to Trump-friendlier jurisdictions regardless of their "Forrest Management" policies, would certainly put California Republicans, including McCarthy, in a very tough spot.

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Trump's tweet ignores the fact that almost 60 percent of California's forests are on land owned by the federal government, mainly the National Forest Service and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

In November, the president blamed poor forest management for the wildfires that wreaked havoc across the state.

However, Fugate said that federal law gives Trump the authority to determine whether to issue disaster declarations for future wildfires. The Woolsey fire in Los Angeles and Ventura counties left three dead and levelled about 1500 structures. Many California wildfires are in non-forested areas.

Newsom also pitched an additional $105 million to help California prevent and battle wildfires.

On Tuesday, Newsom proposed US$305 million (NZ$448 million) to remove thousands of acres of forests and brush, expand emergency crews and modernise California's 911 systems. The president claims that the state is not properly managing their land, unlike Finland, where they rake the forest floor-at least according to Trump. The House, newly under Democrats' control, is planning to vote on a package as soon as next week.

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