LOS ANGELES — After initially rejecting a state request for funds to help with six wildfires, the Federal Emergency Management Agency on Friday reversed itself and said money would be available for Californians, the governor's office announced.

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

FEMA had rejected the state's request earlier this week, for disaster relief funds aimed at cleaning up the damage from six recent fires across the state, including Los Angeles County's Bobcat fire, San Bernardino County's El Dorado fire, and the Creek fire, one of the largest that continues to burn in Fresno and Madera counties.

The decision was met with outcry from officials in California, which has experienced its worst fire season on record in 2020.

The rejection briefly had counties with COVID-19-impacted economies scrambling to figure out what to do without the aid. The California fires have been fueled by several factors, including climate change. Trump has repeatedly criticized California for its handling of fire policy, sometimes with misleading claims, and had rejected the role of rising temperatures as a factor.

More than 4 million acres burned in 2020, more than double the state's previous record. The fires this year have burned an area larger than the state of Connecticut and have killed 31 people. A major disaster declaration allows for cost-sharing for staffing, damage, cleanup and rebuilding between the state and federal government. It also activates federal programs led by FEMA.

The decision came to light when the administration denied a request from Newsom for a major presidential disaster declaration, said Brian Ferguson, deputy director of crisis communication and media relations for the governor's Office of Emergency Services.

"The damage assessments conducted with state and local partners determined that the early September fires were not of such severity and magnitude to exceed the combined capabilities of the state, affected local governments, voluntary agencies and other responding federal agencies," FEMA officials said in a statement.

The agency said it was already assisting the state in combating wildfires. "FEMA approved four Fire Management Assistance Grants in five counties for wildfires included in the state's disaster request, allowing reimbursement to state, local governments and other eligible agencies for 75% of firefighting, evacuation and sheltering costs. These grants will deliver millions of dollars of assistance for emergency expenses and funds to help reduce the risks of future disasters. If the state identifies additional information to support the request, it may appeal the decision within 30 days."

California appealed the decision, Newsom tweeted Friday. The state and its local governments count on FEMA every year to help recover up to 75% of their staffing costs for sending firefighters into other jurisdictions — including onto federal land — to help fight wildfires for weeks at a time.

Republican state Sen. Andreas Borgeas of Modesto, whose district includes the Sierra National Forest where the Creek fire has scorched some 340,000 acres, also appealed the Trump administration's decision in a letter Friday. The president had just recently visited California, the senator pointed out, where he pinned medals on National Guard members who saved those trapped by the Creek fire.

"I have personally toured the damaged areas and listened to heartbreaking stories from people who lost their homes and businesses to the Creek fire," Borgeas wrote. "Many of the structures destroyed were located on federal lands and the surrounding communities supported tourists who come to enjoy the National Parks."

Federal documents filed with the National Interagency Fire Center show costs to date to fight the Bobcat fire in Los Angeles County, the El Dorado fire in San Bernardino County and the Slater fire in Siskiyou County were $67.8 million, $38.4 million and $44.8 million, respectively. The agencies that sent firefighters to these incidents generally expect to be paid back a portion of the costs for sending their crews.

But this also isn't the first time President Donald Trump has threatened to withhold federal aid. In 2019, he tweeted that FEMA should withhold aid to California unless state officials "get their act together, which is unlikely."

The administration ultimately backed down in that face-off.

California did not ask for a specific dollar amount because damage estimates are not complete, Ferguson said.

"The true cost won't be known for months or years afterward," he said.

He added: "What the state is looking for is the highest level of federal support, which requires the highest bars be cleared. But we feel our case for those requirements has been met."

According to Ferguson, such aid could easily reach into the hundreds of millions of dollars.

The state is also seeking aid for San Diego County's Valley fire and Mendocino County's Oak fire.

Newsom formally submitted a letter to the White House and FEMA on Sept. 28 asking for such a declaration and citing the fact that five of the six largest fires in California's recorded history have taken place this year.

The biggest is the August Complex fire, which began Aug. 16 and as of Oct. 15 had burned just over 1 million acres through seven Northern California counties and was 77% contained.

Newsom also said funds would go toward helping rebuild public infrastructure, miles of roads, parks, signs and fire shelters.

"Many of the counties impacted by these wildfires are still recovering from previous devastating wildfires, storms and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic," Newsom wrote.

He added, "Californians are exhausted."

Many residents lost homes and property that was uninsured. According to Newsom, as of Sept. 28, 959 residences were destroyed by fires and 90 more were damaged, totaling an estimated $264,289,200.

The governor also noted the cash-strapped nature of the state, which is projecting a pandemic-induced $54.3 billion deficit this fiscal year.

In February, the federal government agreed to pay back California more than $170 million for repair to the Oroville Dam spillway. Overall, the government kicked in $562.5 million for the project.

California previously successfully applied for a declaration from the federal government for two fires caused by lightning, including the Complex fire, in August.

Newsom will also probably ask for another disaster declaration, Ferguson said, for the Glass fire in Sonoma County and the Zogg fire in Shasta County. The Zogg fire was extinguished Tuesday, while the Glass fire is 97% contained.