By Nichola Groom
(Reuters) – The Trump administration has denied a request by California for additional wildfire recovery relief, saying the September blazes, part of the state’s record-setting fire year, were not severe enough.
“The early September fires were not of such severity and magnitude to exceed the combined capabilities of the state, affected local governments, voluntary agencies and other responding federal agencies,” Federal Emergency Management Agency spokeswoman Lizzie Litzow said in an emailed statement on Friday.
More than 4.1 million acres have burned in California this year, shattering a previous record.
President Donald Trump issued a major disaster declaration for some parts of the state in August. California Gov. Gavin Newsom sent him a request on Sept. 28 seeking another major disaster declaration for seven counties affected by fires that ignited earlier that month.
A major disaster declaration provides federal assistance for individuals, infrastructure and emergency and permanent work, according to FEMA’s web site.
“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,” White House spokesman Judd Deere said in an email.
California officials were not immediately available for comment.
(Reporting by Nichola Groom; Editing by David Gregorio)