California Asks Feds for $7.4B to Rebuild after Wildfires

Governor Jerry Brown said fund will go to cleanup, housing, and other services for those affected

 

In this Oct. 20, 2017, file photo, Linda and Jason Miller look over their burned home in Coffey Park in Santa Rosa, Calif. California Gov. Jerry Brown joined lawmakers to request $7.4 billion in federal funding for wildfire relief and recovery efforts following a deadly cluster of fires that that tore through the heart of the state’s wine country, killing more than 40 people and leaving thousands without housing. (Kent Porter/The Press Democrat via AP, file)

 

By OLGA R. RODRIGUEZ, Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — California Gov. Jerry Brown and lawmakers asked the U.S. government Friday for $7.4 billion to help rebuild after a cluster of fires tore through the heart of wine country, killing more than 40 people and leaving thousands without housing.

See also  STIHL Recalls Chainsaws Due to Fire and Burn Hazards

In a letter to the White House, Brown joined California’s two U.S. senators and 39 members of its 52-member congressional delegation to urge President Donald Trump and Congress to quickly adopt a disaster-related appropriations measure to support the state’s recovery.

Brown said the funding would go toward cleanup and programs to support housing, transportation, agriculture, environmental protection and other services for those affected by the fires.

A series of blazes that started in Northern California the night of Oct. 8 killed at least 43 people and destroyed about 8,900 homes and other buildings. At the peak, thousands of firefighters battled 21 blazes that burned simultaneously.

See also  Federal Agencies Fall Short of President Trump’s Forest Protection Goals

Officials have not yet assessed all the damage and effects of the fires, but the governor’s office and the affected counties determined that $7.4 billion in federal funding is needed to help California recover, the letter says.

The wildfires significantly damaged farmland, rangeland and watersheds, and more than a third of the funding requested, $3.1 billion, would go toward helping agricultural industries bounce back, including affected wineries, California officials said.

“The full economic impact to the agricultural, tourism, hospitality, and wine industries is still not known,” the letter says. “Nine California wineries were destroyed and 21 were damaged in the nation’s most prominent winemaking region.”

See also  Scientists Warn Oregon Lags in Disaster Preparedness

Congress last month approved $576.5 million in aid for wildfires earlier this summer in California and the U.S. West. It also has approved billions in relief funding to help states affected by hurricanes and other weather-related disasters this year.

Trump pledged aid for California fire victims on Oct. 10, saying he had told Brown that “the federal government will stand with the people of California.”

Only one Republican member of California’s congressional delegation signed the letter released Friday: Rep. Ed Royce of Orange County.

Brown said he has asked the California Department of Finance to expedite doling out $41.5 million to support the immediate needs of victims not eligible for federal aid.

During the wildfires last month, Brown declared a state of emergency for the Northern California counties of Solano, Napa, Sonoma, Yuba, Butte, Lake, Mendocino and Nevada as well as Orange County in the south.

All contents © copyright 2017 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Topics

Governor Jerry Brown said fund will go to cleanup, housing, and other services for those affected     By OLGA R. RODRIGUEZ, Associated Press SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — California Gov. Jerry Brown and lawmakers asked the U.S. government Friday for $7.4 billion to help rebuild after a cluster of fires tore through the heart of […]

Get The Wildland Firefighter Newsletter

Related Articles

Drone Halts Helicopter Response to OR Fire

Drone Halts Helicopter Response to OR Fire

David Smigelski - Mail Tribune, Medford, Ore. Sep. 13—A helicopter was forced from the air in the middle of a firefight Monday when a drone appeared over a fire burning on Pioneer Road. Jackson County Fire District No. 5 and the Oregon Department of Forestry Southwest...

OR Adopts CA Fire Tactic, Shutting Power Amid High Winds

OR Adopts CA Fire Tactic, Shutting Power Amid High Winds

By GILLIAN FLACCUS Associated Press PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Oregon utilities shut down power to tens of thousands of customers on Friday as dry easterly winds swept into the region in the hopes that it would lessen the risk of wildfires in extremely dry and hot...