LAKEPORT, Calif. (AP) – Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has directed the National Marine Fisheries Service to prioritize water use in California for fire-fighting, potentially overriding its use to protect endangered species. “The protection of life and property takes precedence over any current agreements regarding the use of water in the areas of California affected by wildfires,” Ross said in a statement. “Going forward, the Department … (is) committed to finding new solutions to address threatened and endangered species in the context of the challenging water management situation in California.” The directive follows a tweet by President Trump on Sunday that blamed the severity of California’s wildfires partly on its water management policies. State experts disputed the charge. The fires are in hills far from the Pacific Ocean and from the man-made storage and distribution system that transports water from the wetter, northern part of the state to the southern part.