Trump threatens to cut federal funding for California wildfires
Governor dismisses U.S. president as someone who doesn't believe in climate change
U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday threatened to cut funding to California for aid during wildfires that have burned across the state during dry winds this fall.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom has done a "terrible job of forest management," Trump tweeted. When fires rage, the governor comes to the federal government for help. "No more," the president tweeted.
Newsom replied with a tweet of his own: "You don't believe in climate change. You are excused from this conversation."
California has increased fire prevention investments and fuel management projects in recent years while federal funding has shrunk, the governor's office said in a statement.
"We're successfully waging war against thousands of fires started across the state in the last few weeks due to extreme weather created by climate change, while Trump is conducting a full on assault against the antidotes," Newsom said.
The state controls just three per cent of forest land in California, while the federal government owns 57 per cent, according to numbers provided by Newsom's office. About 40 per cent of the state's forest are privately owned. Neither of the two major fires currently burning are on forest land.
Last year, Trump made a similar threat as wildfires devastated Malibu and Paradise, Calif. — accusing the state of "gross mismanagement" of forests.
At the time Newsom defended California's wildfire prevention efforts while criticizing the federal government for not doing enough to help protect the state.
Evacuation orders lifted
Meanwhile, authorities lifted all evacuation orders as progress was being made on a large wildfire northwest of Los Angeles.
Firefighters contained 50 per cent of that fire, which has burned nearly 38 square kilometres and forced nearly 11,000 people to flee.
Crews working in steep areas were battling hotspots amid lingering winds, county fire Capt. Steve Kaufmann said Sunday.
In Northern California, more people were allowed to return to areas evacuated due to a huge fire that was burning for days in the Sonoma County wine country.
The 313-square-kilometre fire was 76 per cent contained, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said.