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President Trump's threat to end wildfire assistance a concern for Lilac Fire survivor

PHOTOS: Lilac Fire burns North County
Posted at 5:58 PM, Jan 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-09 21:03:37-05

(KGTV) - President Trump threatened Tuesday to cut the California wildfire aid program that a North San Diego County homeowner credits for helping him rebuild from the Lilac Fire.

“I had no insurance so I was pretty well up a creek without a paddle,” said Peter Andrew, who lost his home in Bonsall. “The fire came through and we lost absolutely everything.”

The Lilac Fire, which started Dec. 7, 2017, destroyed or damaged almost 200 homes. 45 horses died in the blaze.

RELATED: Trump claims he's cutting FEMA aid for California wildfires, blames state for not properly managing its forests

Andrew received $40,000 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which provides funding for different types of disaster declarations.

Fire Management Assistance Grants reimburse up to 75 percent of eligible firefighting expenses to state and local agencies, and tribes. The funds are not often transferred from FEMA to recipients until months after the fires are contained, FEMA spokesman Michael R. Hart told 10News.

In a Major Disaster Declaration, individuals are given financial assistance to help recover.

RELATED: One year after Lilac Fire, the hands of many help rebuild home

There was a fire management assistance grant provided for the Lilac Fire, but no firefighting expenses have been reimbursed yet, Hart said.

The total approved FEMA funding for individuals and households in the Lilac Fire was $4,750,146. By comparison, the Butte Fire, which destroyed the city of Paradise, received a grant of $55,762,402.

Andrew said he hopes President Trump will work with California on fire emergencies.

RELATED: Lessons learned from the Lilac Fire, in San Diego report

“Both sides worry me. Living in California with a mismanaged forest is a problem. But FEMA is an anchor for people who need it and it has to be continued also,” said Andrew.