Donald Trump is threatening to cut federal aid to California for fighting wildfires, saying its governor has done a “terrible job of forest management” and should “get his act together”.
A series of major blazes have raged across the state in recent weeks fanned by strong winds, including in the south where a large fire has forced almost 11,000 people to evacuate their homes.
Around 2,500 properties have been threatened by the Maria Fire which burned 9,400 acres of land this week.
The president tweeted that when such fires rage, Governor Gavin Newsom asks the US government for help – but “no more”.
He wrote: “I told him from the first day we met that he must ‘clean’ his forest floors regardless of what his bosses, the environmentalists, demand of him. Must also do burns and cut fire stoppers.
“Every year, as the fires rage and California burns, it is the same thing – and then he comes to the Federal Government for $$$ help.”
Mr Trump added: “Get your act together governor. You don’t see close to the level of burn in other states.”
He continued: “But our teams are working well together in putting these massive, and many, fires out. Great firefighters.”
The state controls a small percentage of forest land, while the federal government manages most of it.
Last year, the president made a similar threat over funding as wildfires devastated Malibu and Paradise in California and he accused the state of “gross mismanagement” of forests.
At the time Mr Newsom defended California’s wildfire prevention efforts and criticised the federal government for not doing enough to help protect the state.
Teams have managed to contain about 30% of the Maria Fire and authorities have lifted evacuation orders for the farming community of Somis so residents can return home.
Officials said wind levels will drop and become more favourable to firefighters in southern California.
The fire erupted on a hilltop northwest of Los Angeles on Thursday. It has destroyed three structures but did not caused any injuries.
The cause is being investigated but there was a suggestion an electrical power line might have been involved, as with other recent fires.
Meanwhile in northern California, more people were allowed to return to areas which had been evacuated due to the huge Kincade Fire that burned for days in the Sonoma County wine country.
The fire has scorched 77,000 acres and was now 72% contained.