President Donald Trump said Sunday that he wants to cut off federal funds to fight wildfires raging across California, tweeting that Gov. Gavin Newsom should "get his act together" and properly manage the state's forests.
Newsom's reply: "You don't believe in climate change. You are excused from this conversation."
Trump, in a series of tweets, lauded the efforts of firefighters but accused Newsom of catering to environmentalists instead of focusing on fire deterrence.
"Every year, as the fire's rage & California burns, it is the same thing-and then he comes to the Federal Government for $$$ help," Trump said. "No more. Get your act together Governor. You don't see close to the level of burn in other states."
Trump has made similar threats in the past. In January he tweeted that "billions of dollars are sent to the State of California for Forest fires that, with proper Forest Management, would never happen. Unless they get their act together, which is unlikely, I have ordered FEMA to send no more money. It is a disgraceful situation in lives & money!"
Newsom responded then that he was working to modernize forest management, adding that "disasters and recovery are no time for politics."
The latest social media storm came as state officials reported that a fire burning through 15 square miles of farmland outside Los Angeles was 50% contained on Sunday but still threatened 2,500 homes and buildings, authorities said.
All evacuations orders were lifted, the Cal Fires San Luis Obispo unit said.
The Maria Fire began burning Thursday, minutes after a transmission line in the area had been returned to service, Southern California Edison reported. The cause of the fire, however, remained under investigation Sunday.
"Firefighters continued to patrol the fire perimeter, extinguishing any hot spots," Cal Fire said.
The fire was the latest in a series of fires that have swept across the state in recent weeks, fueled by drought-stricken brush, low humidity and high winds. The winds have eased in recent days, allowing firefighters to gain control of the blazes and utilities to end preemptive power outages to hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses.
Southern California Edison said it had restored power to all but a handful of customers. In Los Angeles County, the Getty Fire that destroyed 10 homes and damaged 15 more was 79% controlled. And all evacuation orders have been lifted for the Easy Fire in Ventura County that had threatened the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.
In Northern California, the Kincade Fire that had torched almost 100 square miles in Sonoma County was 76% contained Sunday, Cal Fire said. Pacific Gas & Electric crews were working to restore power to the town of Healdsburg, where flames last week tore through the historic Soda Rock Winery.
Cal Fire said the main building, dating back 150 years, was a "complete loss." A 100-year-old barn survived the blaze. So apparently, did the winery.
"What happened to the winery was tragic and heartbreaking," owners Ken and Diane Wilson said on social media. "But our community and our company is strong. We are survivors, and we are going to move forward. Everyone in Sonoma County was tested in the past 10 days - and we've proven we are resourceful and resilient. Soda Rock honors that resiliency today.
"Come on out and taste at the barn."
Soda Rock was the original site of the Sonoma's Alexander Valley general store and post office "and was once the central hub of activity for the valley," the winery's website explains. The first bonded winery was located on the property in 1880.
The Wilsons purchased the property in 2000. The local landmark had fallen into serious disrepair, but the couple launched a long-term restoration plan.
"Where do we go from here. It feels like such a big undertaking. I think we have to rebuild," Diane Wilson told The Press Democrat. " I think we owe it to Alexander Valley not to leave it like this."
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: California wildfires: Trump threatens to cut funding to fight fires