President Donald Trump mentioned the cost of fighting California’s forest fires again on Wednesday, after partially blaming the state for the massive federal deficit on Tuesday. This time, Trump implied that he might withhold funding if the state does not “get [its] act together” in managing its forests.
> “California’s a mess. We’re giving billions and billions of dollars for forest fires in California,” Trump said during a Cabinet meeting at the White House, shortly after Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told him about the Forest Service’s efforts to prevent fires.
> “They are leaving them dirty,” Trump said of California’s forests. “Old trees are sitting there, rotting and drying. And instead of cleaning it up, they don’t touch them, they leave them. And we end up with these massive fires that we’re paying hundreds of billions of dollars for to fix, and the destruction is incredible.”
Trump said “incompetence in California” is “costing our country hundreds of billions of dollars.”
> “It’s hurting our budget, it’s hurting our country. And they just better get their act together.”
> The state has seen some of its worst and most costly fires in recent months.
> California’s state wildfire agency spent $773 million fighting fires in the fiscal year that ended in June, triple the amount from just five years ago.