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Gridley Herald

Bill to Help Wildfire Recovery Efforts Passed Out of T&I Committee

Feb 19, 2024 04:44PM ● By Office of Representative Doug LaMalfa News Release

WASHINGTON, DC (MPG) - On January 31st, 2024, Congressmen Doug LaMalfa (R-CA) and Greg Stanton’s (D-AZ) legislation, H.R. 7070, the Wildfire Response Improvement Act, was passed out of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. It is now eligible to be voted on the House floor.

H.R. 7070 directs the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to update its regulations and guidance for the Fire Management Assistance Grant, Public Assistance, and mitigation programs to better respond to the unique challenges of wildfires and improve wildfire mitigation—including debris removal, emergency protective measures and impacts to drinking water resources. The bill would also improve FEMA’s benefit cost analysis for wildfire mitigation projects to help them be more competitive for federal funding.

Today, federal support for fighting wildfires ends as soon as the fire is extinguished. But post-fire risks are immense: burn scars from the blazes can lead to life-threatening mudslides and flooding, which create serious public safety risks and can cause significant property damage. Currently, state and local governments must bear the entire cost of post-fire expenses.

“Northern California is no stranger to devastating wildfires. Many towns, businesses, and residents are still struggling to rebuild from wildfire destruction that happened years ago, and this bipartisan bill will greatly help improve the recovery process and help those impacted rebuild. Our rural counties struggle to get by financially already and adding disaster recovery to their long list of costs put basic services like police, fire, and roads at risk. I thank Congressman Stanton for working with me on this and for Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Sam Graves for moving it quickly through the committee,” said LaMalfa.

“I want to thank Congressman LaMalfa for his leadership on this bill to ensure the FEMA appropriately considers wildfire mitigation measures, which will both save lives and reduce future costs of wildfire disasters in Northern California and across the country,” said Sam Graves (R-MO), Chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

“As we enter another dangerous fire season under historic drought conditions, it’s more important than ever that the federal government supports our communities as they respond to and recover from disasters,” Stanton said. “Our bipartisan bill will directly help state and local governments respond to wildfires, and I’m grateful for my colleagues’ strong support.”