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Trump will visit California amid criticism of silence over fires

Forest fire in California

Flames licked vehicles on Highway 162 as Swordfire burned in Oroville, California, on Wednesday. | Noah Berger / AP Photo

AUCKLAND, California – President Donald Trump will visit California on Monday for a briefing with Gov. Gavin News and emergency responders on forest fires, a White House spokesman confirmed Saturday.

Trump will meet with local and federal fire and emergency personnel during a trip to McClellan Park, a former air base near the city of Sacramento, White House spokesman Judd Deere said in an email. The park is also the place the state fire agency used to launch large firefighting planes.


“Since mid-August, President Trump and Gov. Newsom have been on the phone, and the White House and FEMA have been in constant contact with government and local officials during the response to these natural disasters,” Deer said. “The president continues to support those fighting wildfires in locally executed, state-run and federal-backed emergencies. “

Deere noted that “the president has approved a presidential declaration on major disasters for California, which began Aug. 14 for individual and public assistance.”

He also highlighted Trump’s visit to the state in 2018 after a series of fires this year and signed an executive order to reduce the risk of forest fires.

“The administration has also approved 10 fire management grants and 24 grants to other western states, providing a 75% federal share of fire mitigation, management and control costs,” Deere wrote. “More than 26,000 federal officials and 230 helicopters are stationed in the region to fight these fires.”

The president and his administration continue to monitor and provide federal support for damage to forest fires in the West, including Colorado, Montana, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming, he added.

Trump’s visit comes amid criticism that he did not mention the western forest fires for more than three weeks, until Friday night, when he made a public report on the disasters.

“THANK YOU to the 28,000+ firefighters and other first responders fighting wildfires in California, Oregon and Washington,” he wrote. “I have approved 37 declarations of the Stafford Act, including a fire management grant, to support their courageous work. We are with them all the way!”

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