Col. Vic Teel, director of operations for the California Military Department Joint Staff, reports on the devastation in Paradise, California. The Camp Fire burned through most of the town, destroying 7,600 structures since it began Novermber 8. It has scorched 125,000 acres and is currently 30% contained.

CA Governor Brown Requests Presidential Major Disaster Declaration

MATHER, CA: Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today requested a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration to bolster the ongoing emergency response and help residents recover from devastating fires burning in Butte, Los Angeles and Ventura counties. Also today, Governor Brown will join leaders of the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, CAL FIRE, California National Guard and the California Highway Patrol at the State Operations Center in Mather to provide an update on firefighting efforts.

“We have the best firefighters and first responders in the country working in some of the most difficult conditions imaginable. We’re putting everything we’ve got into the fight against these fires and this request ensures communities on the front lines get additional federal aid,” said Governor Brown. “To those who have lost friends and family members, homes and businesses, know that the entire state is with you. As Californians, we are strong and resilient, and together we will recover.”

Devastation in Paradise, California, from the Camp Fire which burned through most of the town, destroying 7,600 structures since it began Novermber 8. It has scorched 125,000 acres and is currently 30% contained. Photo CA National Guard

If granted, a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration would make individuals in the impacted counties eligible for a number of programs and support, including crisis counseling, housing and unemployment assistance and legal services. The declaration would also help state, tribal and local governments with ongoing emergency response and recovery, including the repair and replacement of disaster-damaged facilities and infrastructure, including roads, bridges and utilities.

Major fires burning in Northern and Southern California have claimed lives and caused extensive damage to residences and infrastructure. The Camp Fire in Butte County, which has burned more than 100,000 acres and decimated the Town of Paradise, already appears to be the most destructive fire in modern California history. The Hill and Woolsey fires in Southern California have burned more than 85,000 acres. More than 5,000 firefighters are working the front lines of wildfires statewide.

A state of emergency has been declared in Los Angeles, Ventura and Butte counties due to multiple fires and late last week, California secured direct federal assistance to further support the impacted communities – within 24 hours of making the request. The Governor’s Office of Emergency Services has activated the State Operations Center in Mather, California to its highest level and is coordinating with other local, state and federal emergency response officials to address emergency management needs.

Governor Brown’s request for a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration can be found here. More information on state and federal emergency declarations can be found here.