Costa Continues Fight for Increased Funding for Wildfire Suppression, Support to Fire Victims
(FRESNO) – In an effort to prevent destructive wildfires that have plagued California and the western United States in recent years, such as the Creek Fire burning in Fresno and Madera counties, Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16) joined 42 lawmakers calling for increased federal funding to support comprehensive wildfire response and recovery:
"If we are serious about curbing the increase in destructive wildfires, we need immediate funding to make it happen," said Costa. "Our first responders and firefighters are working tirelessly to protect our communities and suppress these historic fires, but resources are running low. We must provide new funds to help fight these disasters."
The lawmakers, including 8 senators and 34 members of Congress, sent a letter to Senate and House leadership asking for increased funding in any upcoming spending package, as well as an additional emergency federal relief package for wildfire response and suppression efforts. The letter points out additional funding is necessary to meet the immediate needs of local communities affected by the fires since states’ budgets have been stretched due to the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic.
In recent years, wildfires have increased in number and in scope of devastation. This summer alone, coupled with record heat and extreme conditions, California has experienced 6 of the largest 20 wildfires in history. The Creek Fire, which began in early September, has grown to more than 200,000 acres and forced thousands of residents and summer tourists to flee for safety.
Rep. Costa has led numerous efforts to make wildfire management, suppression, and relief a priority in Congress, reiterating the importance of forest management, improving land management planning, addressing the issue of climate change, and most recently advocating for robust funding for wildfire management and suppression in the Fiscal Year 2020 and 2021 Appropriations bills and by:
- Co-sponsoring the Emergency Wildfire and Public Safety Act to protect communities by implementing wildfire mitigation projects, sustaining healthier forests that are more resilient to climate change and providing energy and retrofitting assistance to businesses and residences to mitigate future risks from fire;
- Co-sponsoring the Increase the Federal Disaster Cost Share Act, to strengthen our capacity to implement effective wildfire mitigation projects and increase Federal disaster support;
- Sending a letter to Vice Present Pence to support farmworker safety, to ensure American farmers and farm laborers received the safety equipment needed to continue working under hazardous air quality created by wildfires;
- Sending a letter to House and Senate leadership to respond to firefighter emergency needs, ensuring necessary support for state and local governments to effectively prepare and respond to natural disasters and secure the safety of firefighters and first responders on the front line of extreme weather events;
- Sending a letter to secure IRS assistance to ensure extended temporary relief to taxpayers, both residential and commercial, affected by natural disasters such as wildfires;
- Sending a letter to President Trump to urging the Administration to declare a major disaster in California due to wildfires.
- Co-sponsoring the FEMA Assistance Relief Act to reduce financial burdens on states and communities facing emergencies and major disasters, including wildfires