Huffman, Padilla Introduce Bill to Protect Californians from Post-Wildfire Threats

May 31, 2022

Washington, D.C. – Today, Representative Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) introduced legislation to better protect communities from post-fire flooding. The Post Fire Flooding and Debris Flow Act would include mitigating and preventing post-wildfire flooding and debris flows as eligible under FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) and allow for state and local governments to act quickly when storms are imminent to protect lives, property, and public infrastructure. 

U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) introduced the companion legislation in the Senate.  

“The destruction caused by wildfires reaches far beyond what happens during the blaze – burn scars that streak through our region are horribly perfect sites for large scale flooding and mudslides that further damage communities trying to rebuild,” said Representative Huffman. “My legislation with Senator Padilla directly addresses this threat so the federal government can help areas devastated by wildfires recover and avoid further catastrophe. We must continue to support local government partners so that they can be proactive in their mitigation efforts and limit the secondary disasters wildfires can create.” 

“The threat from wildfires is constant and increasingly devastating in California and states across the western United States,” said Senator Padilla. “As we enter another dangerous fire season under record breaking drought conditions, it’s more urgent than ever that we act quickly to pre-deploy assets to stop fires when they break out, and ensure our state and local community leaders have the tools to protect communities after they happen.” 

The Post Fire Flooding and Debris Flow Act would ensure that mitigation work, before a storm, to prevent post-fire flooding or debris flow is explicitly eligible for FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program and allow for the federal cost share of such work to be increased beyond 75 percent. This will save lives and protect communities. Sudden and deadly post-fire events of this type are well documented throughout the western United States, particularly in Southern California. These events are one of the most dangerous post-fire hazards and pose a serious threat to life and property, and have the possibility to block drainage ways and damage public infrastructure. 

Since taking office, Huffman has made improving the federal wildfire mitigation and response as well as wildfire victim support one of his top priorities. In the 117th Congress alone, Rep. Huffman has called for increased support for victims with the IRS, successfully secured 37 million in federal grants for wildfire mitigation, urged President Biden to issue major disaster declarations to speed up federal response, and introduced a slate of legislation to improve the federal response to wildfires.   

For a one pager on the Post Fire Flooding and Debris Flow Act click here. Full text of the Post Fire Flooding and Debris Flow Act can be found here.