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Trump Approves Disaster Declaration for California, Reversing FEMA Decision

© REUTERS / Tom BrennerU.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally in Moon Township, Pennsylvania, U.S., September 22, 2020. REUTERS/Tom Brenner
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally in Moon Township, Pennsylvania, U.S., September 22, 2020.   REUTERS/Tom Brenner - Sputnik International
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President Trump reversed a decision by FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) on October 14 and approved California’s request for a Major Disaster Declaration linked to wildfires that broke out in September.
“Just got off the phone with President Trump who has approved our Major Disaster Declaration request. Grateful for his quick response,” California Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a press release on Friday.  

Earlier, FEMA stated the fires that erupted in September were not serious enough to be called a major disaster.

"It has been determined that the damage from this event was not of such severity and magnitude as to be beyond the capabilities of the state, affected local governments, and voluntary agencies," FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor said in a letter to Newsom on October 14.

Newsom initially sent a letter to the White House on September 28 asking for a major disaster declaration and funds for recovery from six wildfires in early September,  including the Valley Fire, El Dorado Fire, Creek Fire, Oak Fire, Bobcat Fire and Slater Fire. 

In August, Trump issued a statement about a major disaster in parts of the state, in which federal assistance is provided to individuals, infrastructure, and emergency and permanent work.

However, more major fires occurred in California, prompting a subsequent state request during the following month. About 4.1 million acres of land burned in the state this year, breaking the previous record and causing $229 million in damage.

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