President Donald Trump tweeted on Wednesday morning that he has ordered the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to withhold funds from California until the state gets its forest management under control.
"Billions of dollars are sent to the State of California for Forest fires that, with proper Forest Management, would never happen. Unless they get their act together, which is unlikely, I have ordered FEMA to send no more money. It is a disgraceful situation in lives & money!"
Trump has previously said California needs to “rake” its forest floors in order to prevent wildfires — a suggestion fire experts told Axios would not result in risk reduction.
Rather than poor management, experts agree that climate change is a driving force, causing longer wildfire seasons and more frequent fires that are more difficult to contain, Axios said.
Further, the federal government manages more than half of California's forests:
About 57% of California's forests are managed by the federal government, according to government reports. More federal lands in the state were burned last year than state lands.
Last year, California experienced its deadliest and costliest fire, “with overall losses of $16.5 billion and insured losses of $12.5 billion, according to Munich Re in a press release.”
FEMA approved more than $12.7 million for survivors of wildfires covering three counties in the state, including “temporary housing and home repairs, as well as low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses.”