Rosen, Cortez Masto urge early action on federal wildfire relief

Local News

Courtesy: Helen Rofus

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — U.S. Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) and U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) have asked the Biden Administration to provide economic relief ahead of wildfires expected to ravage the West.

“Uncompensated damage” from previous wildfires, along with the impact of extreme drought and wildfires this summer are driving the need for additional funding, according to a letter to President Joe Biden signed by several senators from western states.

Rosen points to the unique circumstances in Nevada, as well.

“Nevada’s Lake Mead hit its lowest water level on record last week. Unfortunately, this drought is likely a sign of the new normal—in the world of climate change—with extreme drought conditions crippling western states like Nevada and contributing to record wildfire seasons,” Sen. Rosen. said.

“Rising temperatures and drier conditions create the ideal environment for the spread of wildfires and make them more difficult to put out. That is why my colleagues and I are asking the Biden Administration for supplemental disaster funding to assist Nevada and other communities with rebuilding in the wake of these increasingly destructive wildfires,” Rosen said.

Other senators signing on to the letter include Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), and John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.).

The full text of the letter:

Dear President Biden:

We write to urge to you to provide relief to states that are struggling with the impact of extreme
drought and wildfire this summer and uncompensated damage from past wildfires, hurricanes,
floods, and storms. We urge you to request additional funding to meet those needs.

According to the Drought Monitor, over half of the United States is experiencing a historic
drought. Over 95% of the West is now either abnormally dry or in a drought, which is among the
highest percentages in the past 20 years. In addition, over 800,000 acres of forests and
rangelands have been burned by wildfire over the past year. The scale and nature of the problem
is quickly outpacing the availability of funding and authorities of federal agencies.

In addition to the escalating impact of this year’s drought and wildfires, many states and
communities never received supplemental relief for damage for disasters in 2020. While in most
cases the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has delivered substantial emergency
relief to affected communities, the scale of natural disasters experienced in 2020 demands
additional resources that can only be delivered through a disaster supplemental.

We thank you for your consideration, and we look forward to working with you on this
important issue.

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