January 9, 2019 1:33 pm
Updated: January 9, 2019 2:04 pm

Trump threatens to yank funds for California wildfire recovery

WATCH ABOVE: Trump says has halted U.S. funds for California wildfires, forest management

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U.S. President Donald Trump is threatening to withhold Federal Emergency Management Agency money to help California cope with wildfires if the state doesn’t improve its forest management practices.

READ MORE: Mudslides caught on camera add to California’s wildfire misery

Trump tweeted Wednesday that California gets billions of dollars for fires that could have been prevented with better management. The state’s former top firefighter Ken Pimlott disagrees, saying last month that California leads the nation in clearing away dead trees and thinning areas to remove fuel for fires.

Trump tweeted that “unless they get their act together … I have ordered FEMA to send no more money. It is a disgraceful situation in lives & money!”

WATCH: Drone shows extent of devastation from California wildfire

November’s fire in the northern California town of Paradise was the deadliest U.S. wildfire in a century, killing at least 85 people and destroying nearly 14,000 homes.

U.S. President Donald Trump visits the charred wreckage of Skyway Villa Mobile Home and RV Park in Paradise, Cali., on November 17, 2018.

REUTERS/Leah Millis

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Trump also at one point linked imports of Canadian lumber to the deadly California wildfires, which forced thousands to flee from their homes.

During an August cabinet meeting, Trump and other officials downplayed the role of climate change on wildfires, while discussing the abundance of fallen trees creating a natural accelerant.

READ MORE: Trump links Canadian lumber imports to deadly California wildfires

“It’s not a global warming thing, it’s a management situation,” said Trump. “And one of the elements that he talked about was the fact that we have fallen trees, and instead of removing those fallen trees, which get to be extremely combustible, instead of removing them, gently removing them, beautifully removing them, we leave them to burn.”

WATCH: Trump seems to blame Canada’s lumber industry for fires raging in California

Ryan Zinke, interior secretary at the time, then decried the import of lumber to the U.S. as fallen trees are left to rot on the ground, prompting Trump to call lumber imports from Canada “ridiculous.”

— With files from Global News

© 2019 The Canadian Press

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