President Trump threatens to withhold federal payments to California due to 'poor' forest management

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Trump says "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!"

President Donald Trump is threatening to withhold federal payments to California, claiming its forest management is "so poor."

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Trump says Saturday via Twitter that "there is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly fires in California." Trump says "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!"

The remarks triggered swift backlash from the president of the California Professional Firefighters association, who accused Trump of "demeaning" the fire crews working tirelessly to save lives and property as flames tore through both Northern and Southern California.

"At a time when our every effort should be focused on vanquishing the destructive fires and helping the victims, the president has chosen instead to issue an uninformed political threat aimed squarely at the innocent victims of these cataclysmic fires," Brian Rice said in a statement.

"At this moment, thousands of our brother and sister firefighters are putting their lives on the line to protect the lives and property of thousands. Some of them are doing so even as their own homes lay in ruins. In my view, this shameful attack on California is an attack on all our courageous men and women on the front lines."

Rice went on to dismantle Trump's assertion that forest mismanagement was a contributor to the fires.

"The president's assertion that California's forest management policies are to blame for catastrophic wildfire is dangerously wrong," Rice wrote. "Wildfires are sparked and spread not only in forested areas but in populated areas and open fields fueled by parched vegetation, high winds, low humidity and geography."

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Wildfires also raged in Southern California, including the town of Thousand Oaks, where a gunman days earlier killed a dozen people at a local bar.

Trump earlier issued an emergency declaration providing federal funds to help firefighters.

RELATED: California fires from space: NOAA satellite imagery shows Woolsey Fire, Hill Fire, Camp Fire
Related Topics:
Camp Firesmokewildfirefirebrush firecalifornianorthern californiaair qualitypollutionNorthern California
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