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Donald Trump approves California’s request for wildfire relief funds

Washington: US President Donald Trump has approved California’s request for a Major Disaster Declaration to bolster the state’s emergency response to the massive wildfires, Governor Gavin Newsom said.

“Just got off the phone with President Trump who has approved our Major Disaster Declaration request. Grateful for his quick response,” Xinhua news agency quoted Newsom as saying in a tweet on Friday.

A Presidential Major Disaster Declaration helps people in the impacted counties through eligibility for support including crisis counselling, housing and unemployment assistance and legal services, according to a statement from Newsom’s office.

It also provides federal assistance to help state, tribal and local governments fund emergency response, recovery and protective measures.

California officials said earlier that the Trump administration had rejected California’s application for disaster relief funds, which aimed at bolstering state’s emergency response to wildfires across the state and support impacted residents in six counties in the state, including Fresno, Los Angeles, Madera, Mendocino, San Bernardino, San Diego and Siskiyou counties.

Newsom had asked for the major disaster declaration on September 28.

There was a clash of views between the Trump administration and California on the state’s handling of wildfires.

The administration urged California to improve the management of its forests, while Newsom blamed climate change for wildfires.

In its latest update, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) said that as of Friday nearly 9,000 firefighters remained on the frontlines of 21 wildfires across the state, 12 of which remain major incidents.

On Thursday, firefighters responded to 29 new wildfires, and despite Red Flag Warning conditions in many areas, all were quickly contained.

Since the beginning of the year, there have been over 8,500 wildfires that have burned well over 4.1 million acres in California.

To date, the total number of fatalities statewide is 31 and more than 9,200 structures have been destroyed.

By IANB

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