California governor asks Trump for wildfire aid

A hillside erupts in flames from the River Fire as firefighters look on in Lakeport, Calif., Tuesday. On Saturday, Governor Edmund Brown asked President Donald Trump for federal money to bolster the ongoing emergency response and help residents recover from 17 fires burning across the state. Photo by John Mabanglo/EPA-EFE

Aug. 5 (UPI) — As crews in California battle 17 wildfires, Governor Edmund Brown asked President Donald Trump for federal money to bolster the ongoing emergency response and help residents recover.

More than 14,000 firefighters are working the front lines of the fires, including firefighters from other states. The fires have killed at least eight people, stretching the state’s funds and resources thin as firefighters try to gain control.

On Saturday, Brown met with local leaders and emergency officials in Shasta County and requested a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration to help fight and recover from fires burning in Lake, Mendocino, Napa and Shasta counties.

“Battling these relentless fires requires a Herculean effort,” Brown said in a statement. “Additional federal assistance is needed immediately to reduce the direct threat to public health and safety.”

If granted, the funds would help victims with crisis counseling, unemployment assistance, food and legal services. The money also would help state, tribal and local governments repair and replace disaster-damaged facilities and infrastructure, such as roads, bridges and utilities.

Last week, Brown declared a state of emergency in Shasta, Lake, Mendocino, Napa, Riverside and Mariposa counties and secured federal aid to further support those communities, which are impacted by the the state’s largest fire — the Carr Fire.

At its peak, the Carr Fire forced more than 35,000 Shasta and Trinity county residents to seek temporary shelter and led to the evacuations of thousands more. To date, the fire has burned more than 140,000 acres and is about 40 percent contained, the governor’s statement said.

The Lake and Mendocino county fires, known as the Mendocino Complex, have destroyed 55 structures and continue to threaten thousands more, burning through more than 200,000 acres and leading to 18,000 residents being evacuated.

Napa County’s Steele Fire destroyed eight structures and forced 300 residents to evacuate.


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