Bonnie Lowenthal: Fed money helping California fight fires

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Fed money helping California fight fires

Assemblymember Bonnie Lowenthal

Assemblymember Bonnie Lowenthal, chair of the Legislative Joint Committee on Emergency Management announced Thursday that California has been authorized to use FEMA funds for several wildfires raging in Southern California.

This authorization will provide federal money to pay for 75% of the cost of state and local government firefighting efforts for the Canyon Fire in Kern County and the Hill Fire in San Bernardino County.

“We’re glad that Washington is coming through for us,” said Lowenthal, D-Long Beach. “We have great people putting their lives on the line, and they need to know we have their backs.”

By midweek, the Canyon Fire had threatened 650 homes in and around Tehachapi. It also burned dangerously close to another 675 buildings, infrastructure pieces and utility assets in the area. About 200 people were forced from their homes, as more than 2,000 firefighters evacuated but have since been released to their homes. 2,094 fire personnel have been assigned to combat the blaze which started on September 4th and has burned in excess of 14,802 acres of state and private land thus far.

Federal funds also will help pay for efforts to douse the Hill Fire, which threatened about 800 homes in and around the communities of Oak Hills, Hesperia, and Phelan was 100% contained. The fire, which began September 2, blackened more than 1,100 acres of federal, state, and private land.

“September is National Preparedness Month, and these fires are an unfortunate reminder that we all have to be prepared,” said Lowenthal.

The President’s Disaster Relief Fund provides funding for federal fire management grants made available by FEMA to assist in fighting fires that threaten to cause a major disaster. Eligible firefighting costs covered by the grant can include expenses for field camps; equipment use, repair and replacement; tools, materials and supplies; and mobilization and demobilization activities.

Contact: Will Shuck  (916) 319-2054

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