Governor Brown, California Congressional Delegation Request $7.4 Billion in Federal Disaster Relief Funding to Aid Wildfire Recovery

SACRAMENTO – Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today joined California’s two U.S. Senators and 39 members of the California congressional delegation to request $7.4 billion in federal funding for wildfire relief and recovery efforts in California. Governor Brown also expedited more than $40 million in state aid for immediate recovery efforts.

The letter from the Governor and members of the state’s Congressional delegation, sent to the White House today, urges the President and Congress to work quickly to adopt a third supplemental disaster-related appropriations bill to support the state as it recovers from October’s devastating wildfires that killed 43 people and destroyed approximately 8,900 residential and commercial structures.

This $7.4 billion in federal funding would flow to a variety of federal cleanup, recovery and assistance programs and support housing, transportation, agriculture, environmental protection, local health services, long-term recovery planning, reconstruction and small businesses. 

Separately today, Governor Brown directed the California Department of Finance to expedite the allocation of $41.5 million in funding to help support immediate needs in impacted areas, including cleanup, hazardous waste removal and assistance for Californians impacted by the fires who are not eligible for federal aid. 

Under the state appropriation, the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) will dedicate $35 million to debris removal and cleanup efforts, while the California Department of Toxic Substances Control will direct $1.5 million to support hazardous waste cleanup operations. This funding will support debris removal and household hazardous waste cleanup at lots impacted by the fires. Household hazardous waste has already been removed from more than 3,000 lots and debris removal is starting across the impacted counties.

The appropriation also includes $5 million – managed by the California Department of Social Services – to aid wildfire victims who are not eligible to receive federal disaster assistance because of their immigration status. The funds will help these individuals and families affected by the fires with food, housing, utility and other expenses. 

During the wildfire disaster last month, Governor Brown declared a state of emergency for the counties of Solano, Napa, Sonoma, Yuba, Butte, Lake, Mendocino, Nevada and Orange and secured a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration to support the state and local response to the fires, within 24 hours of making the request. Federal direct aid was also secured for residents of Napa, Sonoma, Butte, Lake, Mendocino, Yuba, Orange and Nevada counties who suffered losses due to the fires as well as Disaster Unemployment Assistance benefits for workers in these counties who lost jobs or had work hours substantially reduced as a result of the fires. Governor Brown also issued an executive order to help cut red tape and streamline recovery efforts in impacted communities and last Saturday declared a “Day of Remembrance of the Northern California Fires” in recognition of victims and first responders.

Additional information on California’s wildfire emergency response and recovery efforts is available at: http://wildfirerecovery.org.  

Jonathan Gudel

Jonathan Gudel is a Public Information Officer for the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES). Since joining Cal OES, he has assisted in the response and recovery efforts of the Aliso Canyon Gas Leak, multiple wildfires, the state's historic drought and the Oroville Dam Emergency Spillway Incident and unprecedented winter storms in 2017. Previously, he worked in the newspaper industry for 12 years.

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