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With the death toll of the California wildfires rising more and more, one leader is reaching across the pond to extend her condolences. The message that Queen Elizabeth sent to President Trump concerning the California fires is a break from precedent and it shows the gravity of the situation that these blazes are causing. So far over 80 deaths and about 1,300 people are missing and the fires are still ragging on, burning communities and several houses. It’s in this situation where the Queen reached out and took a moment to thank those who are working tirelessly in putting out these fires: California’s first responders.
In an official statement on Friday November 16th, Queen Elizabeth address President Trump. “Prince Philip and I offer our deepest sympathies to the people of California, who continue to suffer from the devastating fires across the state,” she began. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the victims, and to all those who have lost their homes and livelihoods.”
From there, the Queen turned her focus to first responders, firefighters, and policemen who are working around the clock to handle the flames “I pay tribute to the courage and dedication of the US emergency services and the volunteers that have provided support,” she concluded.
While the Queen isn’t the type to comment on natural disasters occurring in the United States, the fire was one of the deadliest that California has experienced in a century. In addition to the deaths already reported, the Camp Fire in Northern California has burned through 146,000 acres and as of Friday November 16th has only been about 50 percent contained.
This statement also came around the time when the president threatened to pull federal payments from the state. This decision was made due to California’s “gross mismanagement of the forests.” As the president stated on Twitter on November 10th.
Brian Rice, the president of the California Firefighters Association, was very quick to denounce the President’s assertions that they were at fault due to poor forest management.
“The president’s assertion that California’s forest management policies are to blame for catastrophic wildfire is dangerous wrong,” he wrote . “Wildfires are sparked and spread not only in forested areas but in populated areas and open fields fueled by parched vegetation, high winds, low humidity and geography. Moreover nearly 60 percent of California forests are under federal management, and another one-third under private control. It is the federal government that has chosen to divert resources away from forest management, no California.” Rice further added that placing the blame of the fire on the victims of this fire was disrespectful to the firefighters who are putting their lives on the line to fight this blaze.
Up to this point, President Trump has yet to even acknowledge the statement the Queen made towards him. Or at least he has yet to make a tweet about it.