Trump threatens to withhold federal payments

Camp Fire in the town of Paradise, Northern California, Photo Date: 11/8/2018 / Photo: CAL FIRE / (MGN)

President Donald Trump is threatening to withhold federal payments to California, claiming its forest management is "so poor."

Trump says Saturday via Twiitter that "there is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly fires in California." Trump says "billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!"

The comments were Trump's first about massive wildfires, including a blaze that incinerated most of the Northern California town of Paradise and killed at least nine people.

Wildfires also raged in Southern California, including the town of Thousand Oaks, where a gunman days earlier killed a dozen people at a local bar.

But winds that drove the ferocious flames have eased.

Forecasters say the 50-mph gusts won't return until Sunday, and hard-pressed firefighters hope to use that respite to make progress in halting the spread of flames.

The Woolsey fire and smaller Hill blaze have destroyed more than 150 homes and prompted evacuation orders for about 250,000 people from Thousand Oaks northwest of Los Angeles to the celebrity enclave of Malibu.

Trump earlier issued an emergency declaration providing federal funds to help firefighters.