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Trump changes course, approves California relief after six fires

Los Angeles – President Donald Trump’s administration abruptly reversed course and approved California’s application for disaster relief funds to clean up damage from six recent deadly and destructive blazes that have scorched the state, Governor Gavin Newsom said on Friday.

“Just got off the phone with President Trump, who has approved our Major Disaster Declaration request. Grateful for his quick response,” Newsom said in a brief statement.

Neither he nor the White House gave details on why the administration shifted positions less than two days after it initially denied the state’s request for a declaration that officials said could provide the state with hundreds of millions of dollars.

The reversal came the same week the Pacific Gas and Electric utility cut off service to more than 40 000 Northern California customers to prevent powerful winds from damaging equipment and sparking wildfires amid a fall heat wave. Electricity was restored to most customers by Friday evening, PG&E said.

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Preliminary inspections found 30 instances of weather-related damage, including downed power lines in areas where winds were the strongest, PG&E said.