With the death toll and devastation continuing to climb in California, one leader is reaching across the pond to extend her condolences with a heartfelt statement. Queen Elizabeth’s message to President Trump about the California fires is a break from precedent and illustrates the gravity of the blaze, which has currently taken the lives of 71 people and left 1,011 missing. With the Camp Fire and the Woolsey Fire still raging on and continuing to destroy countless homes and communities, the longtime monarch took a moment to thank those who've been tirelessly attempting to contain the fire: California's first responders.
In an official statement titled "A message from the Queen to the President of the United States," Queen Elizabeth addressed Donald Trump on Friday, Nov. 16. "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."
The monarch then turned her focus to the firefighters, policemen, and other first responders who've been working around the clock to try to put out the blaze. "I pay tribute to the courage and dedication of the US emergency services and the volunteers that have provided support," she concluded.
While Queen Elizabeth is generally not one to comment on national disasters in the United States, the Camp Fire has become the country's deadliest fire in a century. In addition to the 71 people who've been reported killed, Northern California's Camp Fire has burned through 146,000 acres and was only reported to be about 50 percent contained as of Friday, Nov. 16, according to CalFire. Ventura County's Woolsey Fire, which has left 3 people dead, is reportedly about 82 percent contained.
The Queen's message to the Golden State comes as President Trump is expected to touch down in Northern California on Saturday, Nov. 17.
Just days after the Camp Fire started, the president threatened to pull federal payments from the state due to "gross mismanagement of the forests."
"There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor," he wrote on Twitter on Nov. 10. "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!"
Brian Rice, the president of the California Firefighters Association, was quick to denounce President Trump's assertions that poor forest management was at fault.
"The president’s assertion that California’s forest management policies are to blame for catastrophic wildfire is dangerously wrong," he wrote in a statement. "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, not California." Rice added that putting the blame on the victims of the fire was disrespectful to the firefighters who were putting their lives on the line to put out the blaze.
President Trump has yet to acknowledge the Queen's statement. Elite Daily reached out to the White House for comment regarding the Queen's message, but did not hear back at the time of publication. I'll be staying tuned on Twitter.