House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi urged President Donald Trump to allocate additional federal funds to help California’s raging wildfires, as well as new steps to combat climate change. Experts say that the global warming is inflaming this year’s crisis.
This weekend Trump signed an emergency declaration for federal help in battling the Carr Fire in Northern California, which has already destroyed nearly 170,000 acres and killed seven people.
Pelosi praised the move as “an important first step.”
However, the second group of fires, known as the Mendocino Complex, is now becoming even larger, so Pelosi asked the President to expand the relief to other hard-hit areas of the state. Also, Governor Jerry Brown has asked the administration to do just that.
“The Administration’s Major Disaster Declaration for Shasta County takes an important first step to combat this disaster, but the President must expand this declaration to the other counties ravaged by wildfires, as Governor Brown has requested,” Pelosi said in a statement. “The Administration also must start taking real, urgent action to combat the threat of the climate crisis, which is making the wildfire season longer, more expensive and more destructive.”
The Carr Fire which destroyed almost 1,100 residences is only 47 percent contained, according to Cal Fire, the state fire agency.
Meanwhile, the Mendocino Complex, consisting of a pair of fires burning northwest of Sacramento, have grown in recent days to encompass more than 290,000 acres, making it the largest wildfire in modern state history.
Cal Fire reported Tuesday that the largest of the Mendocino Complex, the Ranch Fire, is only 20 percent contained.
According to The Hill, during the weekend Trump accused Brown and California Democrats of compounding the crisis with environmental policies that have caused “vast amounts of water [to be] foolishly diverted into the Pacific Ocean.”
“California wildfires are being magnified & made so much worse by the bad environmental laws which aren’t allowing massive amount of readily available water to be properly utilized,” Trump said on Sunday.
Trump’s remarks were quickly confronted by state water experts, who ridiculed the claim.
“The only water that reaches the ocean these days is what’s left AFTER the massive diversions OUT of our rivers for cities and farms. And there’s no shortage of fire-fighting water,” Peter Gleick, a water and climate expert at the Pacific Institute, tweeted Monday. “Nuts.”