Gov. Gavin Newsom on Aug. 23 requested a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration to provide support in the state’s wildfire response as National Parks close amid active raging fires.

“We are deploying every available tool we have to keep communities safe as California battles these catastrophic wildfires driven by climate change impacts,” Newsom said in an Aug. 23 statement. “Even while the fires continue to burn, we are working to put assistance programs in place for impacted individuals to support their recovery from these devastating fires.”

The response is aimed towards the Dixie, McFarland, Antelope, Monument, and River fires. The Dixie fire erupted on July 14 before burning over 700,000 acres. As of Aug. 24, the fire is 41 percent contained as other fires roar throughout the state

According to the governor’s office, 13,712 personnel and 1,031 fire engines are at the wildfire frontlines as of Aug. 22.

To better support firefighters during the northern California conditions, the USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region closed nine National Forests effective Aug. 22 to Sept. 6.

“Fires are running very quickly due to the drought conditions, dry fuels, and winds. This makes initial attack and containment very difficult and is even more challenging with strained resources who are battling more than 100 large fires across the country,” Regional Forester Jennifer Eberlien said in response to the closures. “We do not take this decision lightly and understand how this impacts people who enjoy recreating on the National Forests. These temporary closures are necessary to ensure public and firefighter safety, as well as reduce the potential for new fire starts.”

Among the nine forests closed are Klamath National Forest, Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, Lassen National Forest, Mendocino National Forest, Modoc National Forest, Plumas National Forest, Shasta-Trinity National Forest, Six Rivers National Forest, and Tahoe National Forest.

If Newsom’s request is approved, residents impacted by the fires become eligible for programs that include housing, food assistance, counseling, and medical and legal services. The state would also receive hazard mitigation which assists local and state governments in limiting the risks of fires in the future. Recovery and emergency response to the ongoing wildfires would also be provided.

As active fires run through the northern end of the state, Cal Fire tweeted on Aug. 24, urging residents to be aware of fire weather causing gusty winds and humidity.

Vanessa Serna

Vanessa Serna

August 25, 2021 2:26 am

By admin

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