Helicopter dropping water
A helicopter drops water on the Creek Fire. Courtesy Los Angeles County Sheriff

Responding to a request from California Gov. Jerry Brown, President Donald Trump Friday declared a state of emergency in Southern California, ordering federal assistance to help fight a string of wildfires ravaging the region.

The federal aid is earmarked for Los Angeles, San Diego, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

Trump’s order authorizes the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide leadership in coordinating disaster relief efforts.

“This action will help alleviate the hardship and suffering that the emergency may inflict on the local population and provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures,” a White House statement said.

FEMA is authorized at its discretion to identify, mobilize and provide equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impact of the fires.

Seventy-five percent of direct FEMA and Homeland Security assistance will be backed by federal funding.

Statistics show that as of Wednesday, CalFire already has spent $490.3 million in battling wildfires in the fiscal year that ends in June 30, 2018, more than the $426.9 million authorized for the 12-month period.

That total does not include the cost of fighting the massive blazes now raging across Southern California, authorities said.

–City News Service

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