WASHINGTON – US President Donald Trump on Friday declared a state of emergency in California as authorities in the Golden State struggled to extinguish wildfires that have forced that evacuation of more than 200,000 people.
“The President’s action authorizes the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to coordinate all disaster relief efforts,” the White House said in a statement.
Spread by intense Santa Ana winds, the flames have spread across a wide area of Southern California, consuming 57,105 hectares (141,000 acres) in all and driving 212,000 people from their homes.
The blazes have destroyed 473 buildings and caused damage to 140 others.
In Greater Los Angeles, the fires have interrupted electricity service and forced closures of highways, schools and universities.
Nearly 8,700 firefighters are battling the blazes.