‘Shame­ful’: Trump’s threat to with­draw wild­fire funds

The Independent - - World - ADAM FOR­REST

The head of Cal­i­for­nia’s fire­fight­ers union called Donald Trump’s threat to with­hold fed­eral funds to the state as it con­tin­ues to deal with deadly wild­fires “shame­ful” and “dan­ger­ously wrong” as the death toll rose to 11. Two more peo­ple were found dead from the wild­fires in Mal­ibu on yes­ter­day, adding to the nine fa­tal­i­ties al­ready con­firmed.

“There is no rea­son for th­ese mas­sive, deadly and costly for­est fires in Cal­i­for­nia ex­cept that for­est man­age­ment is so poor,” the US pres­i­dent tweeted. “Bil­lions of dol­lars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all be­cause of gross mis­man­age­ment of the forests. Remedy now, or no more Fed pay­ments!”

Brian Rice, pres­i­dent of the Cal­i­for­nia Pro­fes­sional Fire­fight­ers, re­sponded by call­ing the pres­i­dent’s “shame­ful” state­ment an at­tack on the thou­sands of fire­fight­ers still on the front lines.

Mr Rice also said Mr Trump’s as­ser­tion that Cal­i­for­nia’s for­est man­age­ment poli­cies were to blame for cat­a­strophic wild­fire “dan­ger­ously wrong”.

The fire­fight­ers’ rep­re­sen­ta­tive ex­plained wild­fires are sparked and spread “by parched veg­e­ta­tion, high winds, low hu­mid­ity and ge­og­ra­phy”. He said nat­u­ral dis­as­ters are nei­ther red nor blue, “they de­stroy re­gard­less of party”. Fires have spread across more than 100 square miles of south­ern Cal­i­for­nia, with around 250,000 homes un­der evac­u­a­tion or­ders across the re­gion.

Fire­fight­ers have saved thou­sands of homes de­spite work­ing in “ex­treme, tough fire con­di­tions that they said they have never seen in their life”, said Los An­ge­les County Fire Chief Daryl Osby.

The flames spread so quickly through the Thou­sand Oaks area that res­i­dents at a mo­bile home for se­niors in New­bury Park had no time to gather med­i­ca­tions and doc­u­ments.

Fire­fight­ers car­ried peo­ple from homes and put them in empty seats of their neigh­bours’ cars.

Fire­fight­ers tackle an­other blaze yes­ter­day as the death toll reached 11 (EPA)

Fire­fight­ers plan their op­er­a­tions while bat­tling the Camp Fire in Par­adise, Cal­i­for­nia (AP)

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