California Governor Asks President Trump For Help As State Battles 17 Blazes

Governor Asks Trump For Help With Fires
David McNew / Getty Images

California Governor Jerry Brown is asking President Donald Trump to help the state deal with fighting and recovering from the devastating wildfire season.

On Saturday, the Democratic governor traveled to the Northern California city of Redding to inspect neighborhoods wiped out by the wildfires, according to Fox News. Brown said he was confident the president, who he has clashed with over immigration and pollution policies, would send aid. Trump sent aid in 2017 when California’s wine country was hit by wildfires.

“The president has been pretty good on helping us in disasters, so I’m hopeful,” said Brown. “Tragedies bring people together.”

Brown said he is hopeful Trump will issue a “Presidential Major Disaster Declaration” for the state of California. The declaration could help fire victims with unemployment assistance, food aid, and legal and mental counseling, according to ABC10.

Authorities told the media that there are 17 major fires burning throughout California right now. In total, the fires have destroyed hundreds of homes, killed eight people, injured more, and shut down Yosemite National Park, said California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection chief, Ken Pimlott.

“Fire season is really just beginning.”

Hundreds of colleagues, family, and friends attended a memorial service on Saturday in Fresno for National Forest Service Captain Brian Hughes, the Fresno Bee reported. Hughes was killed on July 29 by a falling tree while fighting the wildfire that has closed Yosemite National Park at the height of tourist season, leaving behind his fiance, who is pregnant with his child.

The death toll is still rising as twin wildfires fueled by dry plants and trees, the extreme heat and windy weather, continue to grow in Northern California. The flames killed two fire fighters, destroyed over 55 homes, and forced thousands to flee their neighborhoods.

Fire officials said Saturday that the twin flames grew to a combined 300 square miles and charred an area of forest five times the size of San Francisco. The twin fires are only 27 percent contained and located just a 100 miles from the bay area.

The National Weather Service issued red flag warnings of critical fire weather conditions through Saturday night, saying a series of dry low-pressure systems passing through the region could bring wind gusts up to 35 mph, making small fires or sparks into walls of flames.

Meteorologist Steve Anderson said temperatures will remain in the 90s in the region throughout the week with wind gusts reaching 25 mph (40 kph) during the day Sunday.

“It’s not good firefighting weather.”

Proving to be a dangerous situation with low humidity and high winds, the weather service said some people may not be able to evacuate if they need to because of how fast the flames can spread.