The Creek Fire that started on Sept. 4 is the single largest fire in California history, Mr. Newsom said in his letter. The fire has so far damaged more than 550 homes, threatens thousands more and has forced more than 24,000 people to evacuate.
According to Cal Fire, the state’s fire agency, as of Thursday the Creek Fire has burned more than 341,000 acres and is 58 percent contained.
Managing wildfires has become an ongoing task for firefighters, officials and residents. Since the beginning of the year, more than 8,500 wildfires have burned over 4.1 million acres in California, the agency said in its statewide fire summary on Thursday. The total number of statewide deaths related to these fires is at least 31, it said.
While the state did not include a specific dollar amount in its request, Mr. Newsom wrote that because of a recession induced by the pandemic, California went from a projected $5.6 billion budget surplus to a $54.3 billion projected deficit. “California’s economy is suffering in a way we have not seen since the 2009 Great Recession,” he said.
In the letter, Mr. Newsom acknowledged that President Trump had issued a number of Major Disaster Declarations for the state in recent years, including a declaration for fires in Northern California, which are still burning. Those declarations help the state access federal resources and assistance.
California has been smacked in the face from climate change, one scientist said.
And the costs of it all are considerable.
“We’re setting records year after year,” Tom Corringham, a researcher at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, told The New York Times last month. “It’s a little early to say what the total impacts are going to be, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the damages are over $20 billion this year.”