Washington, Jan 3: US President Donald Trump has issued a disaster declaration for the state of California which is reeling from some of the most destructive wildfires in the country’s history. According to a White House statement issued on Tuesday night, the presidential order will provide “federal assistance to supplement state and local recovery efforts in areas affected by wildfires beginning on December 4, 2017, and continuing”, reports Xinhua news agency
“Damage assessments are continuing in other areas, and more counties and additional forms of assistance may be designated after the assessments are fully completed,” the statement noted.
Thomas Fire, which began on December 4 in Southern California’s Ventura county, has scorched a total of 281,893 acres and was 92 per cent contained till Tuesday. This wildfire has become the largest one in California’s modern history since the state began maintaining records in 1932.
California Governor Jeremy Brown issued a state emergency declaration on December 5 in Los Angeles and Ventura counties. The governor sent Trump a letter on December 20, requesting the declaration to aid recovery efforts.
California’s two Democrat senators, Kamala Harris and Dianne Feinstein, also sent Trump a joint letter supporting Brown’s request, saying over 1.2 million acres have been burned in the state this year. In October, wildfires destroyed thousands of homes and killed 44 people in Northern California.
Since the beginning of December, six large wildfires in Southern California, including Thomas Fire, burned more than 1,000 houses and killed two people. (IANS)