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Rep. Chu, Speaker Pelosi, Leader McCarthy, & 30 CA Members of Congress Urge Support for Major Disaster Declaration to Respond to Wildfires

October 1, 2020
Press Release

PASADENA, CA – On Wednesday, as wildfires continued to rage in California, Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27), Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CA-12), House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23), and 30 additional California Democrats and Republicans wrote to President Trump urging support for Governor Newsom’s request for a Major Disaster Declaration to respond to wildfires that have struck the State in September. These wildfires have impacted the counties of Fresno, Los Angeles, Madera, Mendocino, San Bernardino, San Diego, and Siskiyou, have burned over 1.8 million acres, forced communities to evacuate, and have tragically claimed the lives of at least three people.

The Bobcat Fire, which has burned nearly 115,000 acres predominantly in the Angeles National Forest in Rep. Chu’s district, caused 70,000 people to evacuate their homes and has damaged or destroyed 230 homes and other structures. The fire also threatened high voltage power transmission lines as well as state and federal communications infrastructure on Mt. Wilson and Mt. Disappointment. September wildfires have caused nearly $350 million in damage to public infrastructure alone across California, including $88.999 million in damage in Los Angeles County.

“I applaud the amazing work California’s firefighting teams have been doing to contain these fires, and I’m grateful for the leadership exhibited at the state and local level to keep communities safe,” said Rep. Chu. “The coordination with the federal government, particularly the US Forest Service has been vital, and now, as we start looking towards recovery, we must build on that cooperation with federal assistance. Our state is currently managing multiple crisis from the coronavirus and wildfires, but we cannot do it alone. I’m proud to be leading this bipartisan call to urge the President to grant California’s request for a disaster declaration which will open up access to recovery funds and more.”  

Text of the letter is below and a copy is available at this link.


September 30, 2020

President Donald Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

We write to request your full and fair consideration of the State of California’s request for a major disaster declaration in response to wildfires that have struck the State this month. In early September, extreme wind events combined with a heat wave and exceedingly dry conditions led to several new fire ignitions that spread rapidly at a time when state and federal firefighting resources were already strained due to numerous record-breaking fires that broke out in the state in August.

These September wildfires have impacted the counties of Fresno, Los Angeles, Madera, Mendocino, San Bernardino, San Diego, and Siskiyou, and have burned over 1,887,932 acres and tragically claimed the lives of at least three people. These fires, including the Creek, Oak, Bobcat, El Dorado, Valley, Slater, Devil, Red Salmon, and Fox Fires, have destroyed 3,368 structures, including nearly 1,000 homes, and have damaged another 232. Governor Newsom has declared a State of Emergency in each of these counties and has deployed all available assets in the State’s disaster response. But federal coordination and assistance is needed, especially as state and local resources continue to respond to both the COVID-19 public health emergency and the August 2020 wildfires.

We thank you for expeditiously granting California’s request for a disaster declaration to respond to the August 2020 wildfires, and ask for your full and fair consideration of the State of California’s request for a major disaster declaration to respond to September 2020 wildfires.

Sincerely,