Wildfires killed at least 42 people
By KATHLEEN RONAYNE, Associated Press
SANTA ROSA, Calif. (AP) — Top U.S. House Democrat Nancy Pelosi and five other members of Congress plan to tour wildfire-ravaged Northern California on Saturday as families and communities begin the long process of rebuilding.
Pelosi, of San Francisco, will spend a day touring the fire zones and meeting with officials and victims alongside Rep. Mike Thompson, who represents the city of Santa Rosa and Sonoma County, the hardest-hit areas in the fires. U.S. Reps. Jared Huffman, Anna Eshoo, Zoe Lofgren and Mark DeSaulnier will attend some of the events.
Their visit comes almost three weeks after fires sparked on Oct. 8, eventually causing roughly 100,000 people to evacuate, killing at least 42, and destroying 8,400 buildings. At their peak, nearly two dozen fires raged and took more than a week to contain. Officials estimate more than $1 billion in losses but haven’t provided a hard number.
State officials said this week cleanup could last into early 2018, preventing many homeowners from rebuilding until then.
Pelosi’s visit to the badly damaged areas will include a visit to a Santa Rosa community center, briefings with state and county officials, a lunch with victims and a public memorial service. She’ll also go on a driving tour through Napa to survey the damage.
“The people of California deserve to know that Congress will be there for them now and throughout the long road to recovery,” Pelosi said several days after the fires began.
Administrators from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Environmental Protection Agency will also be on hand.
The wildfires rank as the deadliest series of fires in California history.
President Donald Trump approved Gov. Jerry Brown’s requests for federal disaster relief, and U.S. Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris are backing legislation to get federal money out the door easier to help with firefighting.
Harris, Feinstein and Brown visited the fire zone two weeks ago.
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