Rep. Mike Garcia, R-Santa Clarita, asked President Donald Trump on Friday to issue a major disaster declaration due to the California wildfires. A day later, in response to calls from Garcia and other California representatives, the president issued the declaration.
The major disaster declaration gives much-needed aid and financial relief to the California residents whose homes have been damaged or destroyed as a result of wildfires.
The request by Garcia, dated Friday, was posted publicly after 26 members of Congress from California “called for an investigation into allegations that the federal government improperly denied or delayed aid to California wildfire victims.”
In Garcia’s letter, he asked Trump to make a major disaster declaration in part due to the damage caused by the Lake Fire, which began Aug. 12 in Garcia’s 25th Congressional District.
The Lake Fire has burned, as of Saturday, 30,763 acres, threatened 1,329 structures and destroyed 12 structures and 21 outbuildings.
“While California is instituting all possible actions at its disposal to combat this natural disaster, the size and scope of what our state faces demands assistance, coordination, and additional federal support,” Garcia said in the letter. “For these reasons, I ask for your full consideration of the state of California’s request for a major disaster declaration as a result of several fires burning across the state.”
Trump issued the declaration Saturday, and Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a statement thanking the president.
“Thank you to the president for your partnership and granting this urgent major disaster declaration,” Newsom’s statement said. “California is battling two of the largest fires in our history and has seen nearly 600 new fires in the last week caused by dry lightning strikes. These are unprecedented times and conditions, but California is strong – we will get through this.”