The Trump administration refused to grant an emergency disaster declaration related to six wildfires across the state in September.
It is unclear why the requests for a disaster declaration — which would have made millions of dollars in federal funding available for areas devastated by the state’s record-shattering fires — were denied. Trump has threatened to withhold disaster funding for California in the past, claiming the state was not doing enough to prevent wildfires while downplaying the role of climate change.
In 2016, Trump lost California by more than more than 4 million votes. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s request estimated damage from the fires could exceed $364 million. The administration’s denial comes as yet another record-breaking heat wave and surging winds across the state heightened fire danger and forced its largest utility to preemptively cut power to over 50,000 customers to prevent power equipment from starting new fires.
In addition to the damages caused by the fires, which are made worse by human-caused climate change, the outages — and their attendant disruptions, including to remote work and schooling — also illustrate how climate change is causing tangible harms right now.