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article imageTrump blames California wildfires on state's environmental laws

By Karen Graham     Aug 5, 2018 in Politics
Always the climate denier, President Trump appeared on Sunday to place blame for massive wildfires in California on the state's environmental laws, including its water and forest management policies.
Trump went on to say that "lawmakers had magnified the situation and hindered responses," jumping on the bandwagon that California Republican Representative Doug LaMalfa got rolling on Wednesday when he told The Guardian that the Carr Fire torching his community was linked to federal and state forest management policies rather than a warming climate.
"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 tweeted. "It is being diverted into the Pacific Ocean. Must also tree clear to stop fire spreading!"
Trump's Twitter-blast comes as California and a number of other western states continue to battle wildfires amidst the searing heat and dry conditions. The fires have destroyed homes and businesses, left thousands homeless and taken lives.
Trump did approve a “major disaster” declaration in California on Sunday, ordering federal funding be made available to help recovery efforts in areas affected by wildfires. "Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster," the White House said.
California wildfires still growing
As of Sunday, there are now 18 major wildfires blazing across California. The Carr fire, burning about 162 miles north of Sacramento has claimed another victim, a power company lineman, according to National Public Radio. That fire had already killed six people, including a great-grandmother and two children.
The latest fatality occurred on Saturday with the death of Jairus Ayeta, a 21-year-old Pacific Gas and Electric apprentice lineman, according to the Sacramento Bee.
“Crews in a remote area with dangerous terrain were performing (power) restoration work when a crew member suffered an accident and a fatal injury in western Shasta County,” PG&E spokesman J.D. Guidi said Sunday morning.
Firefighters have had to endure high temperatures and gusting winds as they attempt to contain two blazes known as the Mendocino Complex Fires raging around Mendocino, Lake and Colusa counties, about 90 miles (145 kilometers) north of San Francisco.
The two fires making up the Mendocino Complex Fire merged near Ukiah, north of Sacramento, exploding by 25 percent overnight and blackened nearly 400 square miles as of Sunday morning, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said.
The fire has destroyed 68 homes and forced the evacuation of thousands of people as firefighters fight to contain the out-of-control inferno.
"The Mendocino Complex Fire has charred more than 254,000 acres, making it the fifth largest blaze in California's history," AccuWeather said on its website, according to CNBC News. "Firefighters will continue to face local gusty winds and building heat this week."
Cal Fire director, Ken Pimlott, told a news conference on Saturday: “Fire season is really just beginning. What seems like we should be in the peak of fire season, historically, is really now the kind of conditions we’re seeing really at the beginning."
More about Trump, Environmental laws, California, Wildfires, Water