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Trump reverses emergency aid decision over California wildfires

Fire crews drop water on Valley Fire
Posted at 3:30 PM, Oct 16, 2020

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - On Friday afternoon, there was a major reversal in the state's request for federal funding to communities ravaged by September's wildfires.

Governor Gavin Newsom tweeted, “Just got off phone with [President Trump] who has approved our major disaster declaration request. Grateful for his quick response.”

The day had started very differently when news broke that the Trump Administration rejected supplying aid to clean up areas destroyed by six of the state's wildfires, including the Valley Fire which burned Irving and Anita Beeman's home.

“That makes me really mad,” Anita said, before the decision was announced to award the state emergency aid.

On Friday morning, a White House spokesperson notified the New York Times in part that the president had already authorized more aid for the August fires. Spokesperson Judd Deere added to the NYT, "The more recent and separate California submission was not supported by the relevant data that States must provide for approval and the president concurred with the FEMA Administrator's recommendation.”

The Valley Fire burned more than 16,000 acres in San Diego's East County. Much of the affected area was in the Cleveland National Forest, right by the Beemans' property. They had to leave before packing most everything, including a box holding the ashes of Anita's parents.

Anita said they have fire insurance but still believe federal dollars should be allocated for cleanup.

“That's not up to me to take care of the national forest. It's up to [the] federal government to take care of the national forest and make sure that people's houses have a big enough fire break so that it doesn't get near their houses,” added Anita.