SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — Fueled by extreme heat and dry, windy conditions, wildfires ravaged California in September, blazing through almost 1.9 million acres, destroying nearly 1,000 homes and killing at least three people. One wildfire, the Creek Fire, became the largest single inferno in California history and grew so fierce it spun up fire tornadoes with 125 mph winds.
On Friday, the request for federal assistance to help pay for the recovery from a half dozen of those fires spun up a tornado of its own. Like the proverbial tempest, the storm over the money had been contained in a tea pot by the day’s end.
The day began with news that the Trump administration had refused to grant California’s emergency declaration that would make hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding available for areas devastated by the Creek Fire and five others. Federal officials said the most recent application did not meet the criteria for federal relief.
It seems as if all of California is on fire or in danger of being on fire.