Press Release


Washington, DC—Today, Reps. Mike Thompson (CA-05) and Jared Huffman (CA-02) applauded the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s announcement that federal funds for October wildfire debris removal were authorized at 90 percent of total eligible costs:

“Our communities are fighting to remain financially solvent as they deal with the enormous costs of recovering from the October wild fires,” said Rep. Mike Thompson. “Without additional assistance from the federal government for the cost of debris removal, I am told by local leaders that our fire communities could go into a financial tail spin. I am proud that our California delegation came together in a bipartisan manner to ensure that our communities have the additional resources they need to recover and rebuild.”

“In the wake of the worst wildfires our state has seen, financial help is paramount in helping our California communities clean up the debris and rebuild after this tragedy,” said Rep. Huffman. “After advocating for this much-needed support, I’m glad that we could work in a bipartisan manner to deliver disaster assistance to those communities still reeling from last year’s wildfires, and secure a cost-share plan that ensures that recovery will not cripple our local economies.”

On October 10, 2017, the President issued a Major Disaster Declaration for the State of California triggering the release of Federal funds to help people and communities recover from Wildfires that occurred October 8-31, 2017. Pursuant to this declaration, the federal government’s cost-share for debris removal was 75 percent, with the state and local responsible for the remaining 25 percent.

At the urging of local leaders, Reps. Thompson and Huffman worked with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and House Interior Appropriations Chair Ken Calvert to increase the federal cost share for debris removal from the October wildfires from 75 percent to 90 percent as part of the Bipartisan Budget Act that was signed into law on February 9, 2018. The adjustment to the Federal share applies to assistance provided before, on, or after the date of enactment of the Bipartisan Budget Act.

“This funding commitment made by Congress is a huge relief to all of us in Sonoma County,” said Sonoma County Board of Supervisors Chair James Gore.“Thank you to our representatives who championed this effort. Our community has suffered greatly from the October Fire Siege, and we need all the help we can get to not just recover, but become more resilient moving forward.”

“The increased federal share of debris-removal costs, to 90 percent from 75 percent, means Santa Rosa will save millions of dollars that can now be spent on recovery, resiliency and rebuilding efforts,” said Santa Rosa Mayor Chris Coursey.

The debris-removal program, conducted chiefly by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, has completed debris removal on 3,584 properties. There are 4,885 approved properties in the program.