Helping Californians with Wildfires: A Message from Rep. Huffman
In recent years, our district has experienced some of the nation’s worst wildfires – fueled by climate change and extreme drought. We know all too well the devastating impacts these fires have on our region and how important it is to access support and do what we can to prevent and mitigate the damage. The recent Six Rivers Lightning Complex Fire was a frightening example of how quickly fires can break out, and I'm grateful for the many partners my team was able to work with to make this fire a priority for resources in the nation. My staff and I will continue to monitor it and any other fires closely.
It's one of my top priorities in Congress to bring back resources to the North Coast to help folks prepare for and recover from wildfires. I’d like to share some of the work I’ve been doing to help keep you and your families safe from the growing threat of fires in our district.
Wildfire Resource Guide
First, you can be prepared for a wildfire in your area by taking a look at my Wildfire Resource Guide. You’ll find information about evacuations, public shelters, and details about federal resources that may be available—like Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assistance and Small Business Administration loans.
Click HERE to download a copy of this year’s Wildfire Resource Guide.
Wildfire Defense Funding in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law
Last year, I voted for President Biden’s landmark Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, a once-in-a-generation investment in our country’s crumbling and outdated infrastructure. With funding allocated in this law, the Biden administration created a $1 billion Community Wildfire Defense Grant program. This new program will be a valuable tool for helping at-risk communities, tribes, and state forestry agencies prepare for and alleviate wildfire hazards.
Combatting Climate Change with the Inflation Reduction Act
Mitigating the impacts of the climate crisis is our best long-term defense against wildfires. This month, President Joe Biden signed the historic Inflation Reduction Act into law, which includes the biggest investments in climate action in American history. This new law will reduce planet-warming carbon pollution by 40% within this decade, accelerate our transition to clean energy, and invest in drought resilience.
Advocating for FEMA Assistance
As your Representative, I have an important role to play in advocating for federal support. During disasters, I have repeatedly called for the administration to extend resources by issuing Major Disaster Declarations like I did during the August 2021 wildfires. I also advocate for grants from FEMA to support victims and survivors of wildfires – and was pleased to recently announce that Santa Rosa was awarded a $2.6 million grant for fire support measures related to the 2019 Kincade fire.
Additional Legislative Activity
- This summer, the House passed the Wildfire Response and Drought Resiliency Act to help us prevent and fight future wildfires by significantly increasing investments in our firefighting response. This monumental legislative package includes my FUTURE Western Water Infrastructure and Drought Resiliency Act, which would develop more resilient water infrastructure and help ensure that homeowners can meet the challenge of planning for drought and climate change.
- My keystone public lands bill, the Northwest California Wilderness, Recreation, and Working Forests Act, also includes several fire-prevention provisions. It requires federal agencies to develop a coordinated approach to fire management in new wilderness areas, and it designates a new 730,000 acre restoration area where a fuels reduction program can reduce the danger of severe fires.
- Along with Senator Alex Padilla, I introduced the Post Fire Flooding and Debris Flow Act to better protect communities from post-fire natural disasters. This legislation would include mitigating and preventing post-wildfire flooding and debris flows and allow for state and local governments to act quickly to protect lives, property, and public infrastructure.
- Lastly, I joined Rep. Zoe Lofgren and Senator Padilla on two bills that are designed to help FEMA evolve their practices to ensure equity and improve wildfire response. The FIRE Act would allow FEMA to respond faster to the risks of catastrophic wildfires, better prioritize the needs of survivors, and improve partnerships with tribal governments. The Disaster Equity and Fairness Act ensures that underserved areas victimized by wildfires can receive the help they need from FEMA to navigate the bureaucratic process to rebuild their communities.
My staff and I are here to help in any way we can. Please don’t hesitate to call one of my district offices if you need assistance. If we aren’t the right place to get you what you need, my staff can also guide you to the state and local resources available.
Thank you, and stay safe,
Member of Congress
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