Letter to the President - Feinstein, California Leaders Urge Trump to Prioritize Disaster Assistance in Aftermath of Historic Wildfires


Dear President Trump:

As you develop your Administration's request to Congress for additional disaster funding, we ask that you include $7.4 billion to help California recover from last month's devastating wildfires that killed 43 people and destroyed approximately 8,800 residential and commercial structures.

On October 8, 2017, firefighters began battling multiple wildfires throughout California, prompting one of the deadliest and most destructive fire events in California history. California Governor Jerry Brown proclaimed a State of Emergency and requested a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration on Monday, October 9, 2017. In less than 24 hours, you declared a Major Disaster Declaration (FEMA DR-4344) that was announced by Vice President Mike Pence at the Governor's Office of Emergency Services' State Operations Center.

Mutual aid resources continued to pour into California to assist firefighting crews, which consisted of 11,000 firefighters and nearly 500 law enforcement personnel. Suppression efforts included more than 1,000 fire engines, over 30 air tankers and 73 helicopters, and 177 fire engines from Oregon, Nevada, Washington, Idaho, Utah, New Mexico, Colorado, and Arizona. Nearly 245,000 acres (over 350 square miles) were burned, causing 43 fatalities, destroying approximately 8,800 commercial and residential structures, and requiring the evacuation of 100,000 people.

California is the most populous U.S. state and the sixth largest economy in the world, with nearly 40 million residents, 109 federally-recognized tribal nations, 58 counties and a gross state product of approximately $2.5 trillion. The fires directly impacted eight counties and three Tribal Nations. The full economic impact to the agricultural, tourism, hospitality, and wine industries is still not known. Nine California wineries were destroyed and 21 were damaged in the Nation's most prominent winemaking region.

State and local governments in California are still in the early stages of recovery from this disaster and are still assessing damages and impacts. However, the Governor's Office has worked with the affected counties and communities to determine that $7.4 billion in federal funding is needed as of October 28, 2017 to help California recover.

Thank you for your consideration of our request. As we work on the immediate need for a third disaster supplemental responding to the wildfires in California, we look forward to working with you to ensure that all Americans who have been severely impacted by recent natural disasters across the United States receive the federal support they need and deserve.