HAPPY CAMP, Calif. — President Donald Trump has reconsidered the rejection of a major disaster declaration requested by California after a summer of destructive wildfires, a decision presaged by California Congressman Doug LaMalfa on Friday.
The Trump administration rejected that request this week as Governor Gavin Newsom sought a Major Presidential Disaster Declaration for the fires of early September — including the Slater Fire that destroyed areas of Happy Camp in Siskiyou County.
As the Congressman for California's 1st District, Rep. LaMalfa represents most of California's North State, including Siskiyou County.
"The President has listened to the North State’s calls for additional disaster assistance for Siskiyou County, reversing FEMA’s denial of the original request for aid," LaMalfa said on Friday afternoon. "Working with our contacts at the White House and with House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, we were all able to impress on the President and his team to take another look at the FEMA denial. We expect an announcement by the President overriding that decision will be forthcoming."
Governor Newsom confirmed the development minutes later, saying that President Trump had approved the declaration.
“Just got off the phone with President Trump who has approved our Major Disaster Declaration request. Grateful for his quick response,” said Newsom.
While California received a major disaster declaration in August, the approval did not include counties that saw devastating wildfires in September.
"A Major Disaster Declaration will help address the high cost of recovery," LaMalfa continued. "I have been engaged with the Trump Administration on this issue for several weeks, and I thank the President for responding to the State of California’s request for aid. Keep in your prayers the families who lost their loved ones, those who lost their homes in Happy Camp, and our first responders who are working to extinguish fires in California. My office will continue to assist with the federal and state response to wildfires across the North State.”
Governor @GavinNewsom today announced that the President has approved CA’s request for a Major Disaster Declaration to bolster the state’s emergency response to wildfires across the state and support impacted residents. https://t.co/r6kvG6XsmO
— Office of the Governor of California (@CAgovernor) October 16, 2020