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Trump threatens to cut US funding for California wildfires

The US president picked a Twitter fight with California’s governor Gavin Newsom.

Flames consume a hillside in Santa Paula, California (AP/Noah Berger)
Flames consume a hillside in Santa Paula, California (AP/Noah Berger)

By Christopher Weber, Associated Press

President Donald Trump has threatened to cut US funding to California for aid during wildfires that have burned across the state.

Neither of the two major fires burning in California are on forest land.

Mr Trump tweeted saying California governor Gavin Newsom has done a “terrible job of forest management”. He said the governor comes to the federal government for help every year when fires rage.

He added: “No more.”

Mr Newsom replied with a tweet of his own: “You don’t believe in climate change. You are excused from this conversation.”

The state controls a small percentage of forest land. The federal government manages most of it.

Meanwhile, authorities lifted all evacuation orders as progress was being made on a large wildfire north west of Los Angeles.

Firefighters contained 50% of that fire, which has burned nearly 15 square miles and forced nearly 11,000 people to evacuate.

Crews working in steep areas were battling hotspots amid lingering winds, county fire captain Steve Kaufmann said.

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Mr Trump has made similar threats before (AP/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Last year Mr Trump made a similar threat as wildfires devastated Malibu and Paradise, California – accusing the state of “gross mismanagement” of forests.

At the time Mr Newsom defended California’s wildfire prevention efforts while criticising the federal government for not doing enough to help protect the state.

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 121-square-mile fire was 76% contained, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said.

PA

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