Trump administration finally assists California through wildfires

By ANTHONY MIRAGLIOTTA
On October 19, 2020

Photo courtesy of Michael Held, Unsplash

The Trump administration abruptly grants California a Disaster Declaration for the raging wildfires on Oct. 16 after denying the initial request made by Governor Gavin Newsom. In a recent press release, Gov. Newsom stated that he is “grateful for his quick response.” The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will be aiding six of the wildfires, one of which is the largest in California state history.

Jim Patterson, a Republican member of the California State Assembly, blasted the initial denial for funding. “This should have been a no brainer,” he said. “Something went wrong in the calculations of what FEMA did.” 

Trump and Gov. Newsom have a history of disagreeing with one another. Trump blamed the wildfires on California’s failure to clean up dead trees and debris, saying “As far as the fires are concerned, you need forest management, in addition to everything else.”

In addition to the past three years of wildfire damage, since the start of 2020, there have been more than 8,000 wildfires wreaking havoc across four million acres of California land, destroying homes, animal habitats, and killing 21 people. This disastrous issue absolutely warrants help from the federal government.

On top of everything else, this is happening during the COVID-19 pandemic and in one of the hardest hit states. California accumulated about 17,000 deaths and around 874,000 cases total.

As of October 18, there have been more than 7,700 firefighters on the frontlines battling non-stop to save the lives of so many people, just like the healthcare workers helping patients fighting the deadly virus.

The federal government is supposed to act as a backup to the states. They are only supposed to grant them funding if they absolutely need it. Even though Trump has only sent aid to six fires, if Gov. Newsom still cannot handle the wildfires using his given resources, then he should continue requesting additional federal funding.

Otherwise, any unused funding should be sent back to the federal government and reallocated for other issues.

My prayers are with the first responders and everyone involved in the wildfires.

 

amiragli@ramapo.edu

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