By Aditi Shukla
Due to the severely damaging and deadly wildfires in the past month, the White House is now providing aid and relief to the areas affected.
The Western United States has been hit with an extreme wildfire season. There have been over 9,000 fires that have burned over 4 million acres of land, making September of 2020 California’s biggest wildfire season in history. These fires have become increasingly deadly over time due to the drying and heating of the wilderness from climate change.
In August, the Federal Emergency Management Agency had determined that the fires in that month were not severe enough to require more resources than the state, local government, and other federal agencies had provided. However, when the wildfires hit in the subsequent month, California asked for additional federal help for the fires which had destroyed over 2 million acres, including the Creek Fire, Valley Fire, El Dorado Fire, Slater Fire, and the Bobcat Fire. The Creek Fire alone caused 25,000 people to evacuate and destroyed more than 500 structures.
President Donald Trump had claimed in a rally in August that he might deny California’s request, saying that “Maybe we’re just going to have to make them pay for it because they don’t listen to us.” However, California Governor Gavin Newsom recently wrote a letter to Trump, asking for around $346 million in relief funds. Trump quickly responded, saying that the White House decided to send federal aid, thus reversing the administration’s initial stance.