SACRAMENTO – Working to bolster California’s emergency response to multiple wildfires and support impacted communities, Governor Gavin Newsom today requested a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration to assist state and local wildfire response and recovery efforts in Lassen, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Shasta, Siskiyou, Tehama and Trinity counties.
“We are deploying every available tool we have to keep communities safe as California battles these catastrophic wildfires driven by climate change impacts,” said Governor Newsom. “Even while the fires continue to burn, we are working to put assistance programs in place for impacted individuals to support their recovery from these devastating fires.”
This federal request is specific to the Dixie, Antelope, McFarland, Monument and River fires. A subsequent request may be made for the Caldor and other fires once fire conditions allow state, local and federal officials to safely assess the scope of damage.
If approved, a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration will help people in the impacted counties through eligibility for programs and support that can include housing assistance, food aid, counseling, medical services and legal services. The request includes public assistance to help state, tribal and local governments with ongoing emergency response and recovery costs. The request also includes hazard mitigation, which helps state and local governments reduce the risks and impacts of future disasters.
Currently there are 12 major fires burning across the state, causing extensive damage to residences and infrastructure. As of August 22, 13,712 personnel and 1,031 engines are at work on the front lines of wildfires statewide.
Although wildfires are actively burning, the state and its partners are working quickly to provide California communities the resources they need to get back home as soon as it is safe to do so. The state is already removing household hazardous waste due to fires in multiple counties, the first stage of returning damaged properties to their owners. There are also teams on the ground conducting damage assessments documenting the extent of the losses so that the state can maximize its requests for federal aid.
In addition, the state provided millions of dollars in California Disaster Assistance Act Public Assistance advance funding to Plumas and Alpine counties. This advance funding provides financial assistance from the state for costs incurred by local governments because of a disaster event – due to the magnitude of the damage sustained in Plumas County due to the Dixie Fire and in Alpine County from the Tamarack Fire.
California recently secured Fire Management Assistance Grants (FMAGs) from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to support the state’s response to the Dixie Fire in Lassen, Butte and Plumas counties and the response to the Caldor Fire, Monument Fire, River Fire and Lava Fire.
Governor Newsom has activated the State Operations Center to its highest level and proclaimed a state of emergency in counties impacted by the Caldor Fire, McFarland and Monument fires, Antelope and River fires, Dixie, Fly and Tamarack fires and the Lava Fire and Beckwourth Complex Fire. The Governor signed an executive order to support impacted communities and bolster wildfire response and recovery efforts.
The text of the Governor’s request for a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration can be found here.