News Donald Trump blames state’s forest management for California wildfires on mostly-federal land, threatens to pull aid

Donald Trump blames state’s forest management for California wildfires on mostly-federal land, threatens to pull aid

A family watches an Air Tanker dropping fire retardant over lines while helping to fight the Maria fire, in Santa Paula, Ventura County, in California. Photo: Getty
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US President Donald Trump has threatened to cut federal aid to the state of California as wildfires burn across the state.

Mr Trump blamed California governor Gavin Newsom in-part for the fires, saying Mr Newsom has done a “terrible job of forest management” and comes asking for federal government help on fires every year. 

He tweeted: “No more.”

“Get your act together Governor,” Mr Trump wrote. “You don’t see close to the level of burn in other states.”

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

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

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

Parts of the state has been ablaze for days as dozens of wildfires spread, forcing the evacuation of thousands of people including in outer-suburbs of Los Angeles.

Last week, celebrities including basketball star Le Bron James and Terminator actor-turned-politician Arnold Schwarzenegger were evacuated from their homes as fires raged around the city’s wealthiest neighbourhoods. 

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

Firefighters contained 50 per cent of that fire, which has burned nearly 40 square kilometres and forced nearly 11,000 people to evacuate.

Aerial photo showing the Los Angeles Skyline surrounded with smoke in Los Angeles, California on November 01. Photo: Getty

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

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 over a huge fire that was burning for days in the Sonoma County wine country.

The 300 square km fire was 76 per cent contained, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said.

-with AAP