SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom today announced that the White House has approved California’s request for a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration, submitted yesterday, to bolster the ongoing emergency response to wildfires and support impacted communities in Lassen, Nevada, Placer and Plumas counties.
“California is grateful for President Biden’s swift approval of our request and the ongoing work of our heroic firefighters and emergency responders to protect communities across Northern California,” said Governor Newsom. “This declaration makes vital resources available as we continue to work in lockstep with local, state and federal partners to meet the challenge of these catastrophic wildfires and support communities in recovery.”
A Presidential Major Disaster Declaration helps people in the impacted counties through eligibility for programs and support that can include housing assistance, counseling, medical services and legal services. The declaration includes public assistance to help state, tribal and local governments with ongoing emergency response and recovery costs and hazard mitigation, which helps state and local governments reduce the risks and impacts of future disasters.
The request approved today is specific to the Dixie and River fires. Other fires, including the Caldor Fire, may be included once fire conditions allow state, local and federal officials to safely assess the scope of damage.
Although wildfires are actively burning, the state and its partners are working quickly to provide California communities the resources they need to get back home as soon as it is safe to do so. The state is already removing household hazardous waste due to fires in multiple counties, the first stage of returning damaged properties to their owners. There are also teams on the ground conducting damage assessments documenting the extent of the losses so that the state can maximize its requests for federal aid.
In addition, the state provided millions of dollars in California Disaster Assistance Act Public Assistance advance funding to Plumas and Alpine counties. This advance funding provides financial assistance from the state for costs incurred by local governments because of a disaster event – due to the magnitude of the damage sustained in Plumas County due to the Dixie Fire and in Alpine County from the Tamarack Fire.
California recently secured Fire Management Assistance Grants (FMAGs) from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to support the state’s response to the Dixie Fire in Lassen, Butte and Plumas counties and the response to the Caldor Fire, Monument Fire, River Fire and Lava Fire.
Governor Newsom has activated the State Operations Center to its highest level and proclaimed a state of emergency in counties impacted by the Caldor Fire, McFarland and Monument fires, Antelope and River fires, Dixie, Fly and Tamarack fires and the Lava Fire and Beckwourth Complex Fire. The Governor signed an executive order to support impacted communities and bolster wildfire response and recovery efforts.
Residents and business owners who sustained losses in the designated areas can begin applying for assistance by registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-3362 or 1-800-462-7585 TTY.