President Donald J. Trump declared a state of emergency in California, ordering federal assistance to local and state governments to help combat wildfires and alleviate emergency conditions.
The Thomas Fire is burning across 132,000 acres with 10 percent containment, according to the Ventura County Fire Department.
The county’s disaster preparedness site says the fire continues to “grow” west toward the Santa Barbara County line and that critical fire weather is expected to continue for the next few days.
According to a press release from the White House, Trump’s action authorizes the Department of Homeland Security, specifically the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to coordinate disaster relief. FEMA will cover over 75 percent of firefighting costs in areas affected by the fire, according to Brandi Richard, FEMA spokesperson.
Trump’s declaration allows FEMA to “identify, mobilize, and provide, at its discretion” the necessary equipment and resources.
According to FEMA’s West Coast headquarters, their fire management assistance grants will cover costs relating to personnel and staffing, equipment and supplies, meals, health and safety items, pre-positioning resources and emergency work.
Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. sent a letter to the president and to FEMA on Thursday requesting the emergency declaration, in order for state and local agencies to receive assistance with the fire.
Brown declared a state of emergency in five counties in California that Thursday as the result of the wildfires and said the blazes are “likely to be beyond the control” of any single local government.
“[T]he circumstances of this fire, by reason of their magnitude … require the combined forces of a mutual aid region or regions to combat,” Brown said in his proclamation.