Trump Threatens to Take Away Funding Used to Stop California’s Wildfires


Marcio Jose Sanchez

A firefighter battles the Maria Fire Thursday, Oct. 31 2019, in Somis, Calif.

Kassidy Haggard, National and World News

California’s wildfires have been raging through the state for months now, and the government has been fighting to stop them and save the forests. Fire season in California is caused because of the heat paired with the dryness and high winds that tend to occur in Southern California this time of year and well into December. 

California has been battling these fires for a very long time, and there are people who spend their entire lives trying to understand the issues that cause these fires, as well as the ones that come with them. These people devote countless hours trying to figure out these fires and the best ways to quell them. They know the facts, and they don’t line up with what U.S. President Donald Trump sees to be true.

 Trump believes these fires “are being magnified & made so much worse” and that “forest management is so poor” that the “billions of dollars given each year [is wasted] all because of gross mismanagement of the forests” (which he blames on California’s Governor, Gavin Newsom), as he stated in two separate tweets dealing with the California wildfires. Trump put the Federal Emergency Management Agency funds on the chopping block and threatened to withdraw those funds from California stating, “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.” 

However, Trump’s discontentment with the fires did not stop there. This past Saturday, Trump even went after Gavin Newsom in an angry tweet where he stated, “Every year… [Newsom] comes to the Federal Government for financial help. No more. Get your act together Governor. You don’t see close to the level of burn-in other states.”

What Trump has failed to acknowledge in countless statements and tweets–including the one just mentioned–is that close to 57% of the 33 million acres of California considered to be forest is not only owned by the federal government, but it is managed by them too. Only 3% of the forest land found in California is actually owned by the state, the other 40% being controlled by private landowners.  

California’s Governor did not stay quiet about the claims Trump made and responded to the president’s tweet with, “You don’t believe in climate change. You are excused from this conversation.” This exchange of words was made only months after Trump offered to help Russia battle the fires in Siberia. 

While it is true that the wildfires in Russia–Greenpeace to be exact–were causing an ecological catastrophe due to their size. When Trump offered to help fight these fires in Russia, the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, showed “sincere gratitude”. This offer and the threats that have been made to the Governor of California has caused many people to wonder if the United States President cares for what is happening in California at all.  

Many of the “facts” Trump has tweeted about (“You don’t see close to the level of burn in other states”), are far from true. For example, Alaska has seen more acres burned due to wildfires that California has–though California has had more individual fires (most of them burning the shrub and grassland, and not the actual forest). 

In addition, this year has been a year of few fires compared to what California has seen in the past. Attention is being brought to these fires more than it has been in past years because these fires affect more people because they are closer, which is why the fires have been continuously mentioned in the news and media. 

The fires in California have continued to rage on, and it is certain that if Trump follows through with his threats to take funding away from California–which is being used to keep these fires at bay and the people safe–more people will be harmed and even killed. The question is, whose fault would it be? Trumps or Newsoms?