Anna's Weekly Update
This is an urgent e-newsletter about the wildfires that have engulfed the Bay Area, and most especially the CZU Lightning Complex fire in San Mateo and Santa Cruz Counties in our Congressional District that is threatening thousands of homes and forcing the evacuations of tens of thousands of residents.
As I write to you, more than 560 fires are burning across California and the state’s resources are heavily strained. That’s why I’m calling for federal fire fighting forces and resources to be deployed to California from the Department of Defense, the National Guard Bureau, and the Bureau of Land Management. The CZU Lightning Complex fire has burned at least 50,000 acres and is zero percent contained. I track the devastating fires hourly, and I’m in constant contact with county officials, CAL FIRE, Cal OES, the Governor’s Office, and federal officials. I’m doing everything I can to get more help to these hard hit areas.
San Mateo County constituents in Pescadero, Loma Mar, and La Honda have been evacuated while constituents in Scotts Valley, Bonny Doon, Ben Lomond, Boulder Creek, Davenport, Lompico, Felton, Zayante and throughout the San Lorenzo Valley in Santa Cruz County have been forced from their homes. The personal loss and suffering of families throughout our Congressional District and across California is heartbreaking. This tragedy is unfolding during
the middle of the worst pandemic in a century and only adds to the stress and anxiety we’re all experiencing during this difficult time.
I’m deeply grateful to the countless first responders and California National Guard officials who are fighting the fires, and it’s absolutely paramount for my constituents to follow CAL FIRE’s evacuation orders and be ready to evacuate at a moment’s notice. I encourage you to visit CAL FIRE’s Ready For Wildfire website to be prepared.
The massive explosion of fire activity has resulted in an immense strain on California’s resources and firefighting capabilities. It is increasingly difficult for the State and local governments to obtain the necessary resources to respond to these fires. Today I joined House colleagues from the California delegation in writing to the President urging him to approve California’s request for a major disaster declaration to ensure vital federal resources are dispersed to California as soon as possible. You can read a copy of the letter by clicking HERE.
California has also been granted a Fire Management Assistance Grant (FMAG) from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide much-needed support to fight the CZU August Lightning Complex Fire burning in Santa Cruz and San Mateo counties. The FMAG, which will reimburse up to 75% of eligible fire suppression costs, comes from the FEMA Disaster Relief Fund. Along with my colleagues in Congress, I helped secure an additional $45 billion this year for the Disaster Relief Fund which will go to our communities during this critical time. You can read more about the FMAG by clicking HERE.
Below you can find a list of resources to help you and your families stay up-to-date on the latest news and evacuation orders and find assistance if you need it. You can also find this information on my website by clicking HERE.
Let’s all pray for each other, all the fire fighters, and all those who have had to evacuate and their families. I’ll continue to keep in close touch.
If you’ve evacuated your home and need accommodations, please contact the Red Cross Northern California Coastal Hotline at 1-866-272-2237 or click HERE.
CAL FIRE Resources
Click HERE for status updates from CAL FIRE about the CZU Lightning Complex Fires. I encourage you to sign up for email updates from CAL FIRE by clicking HERE. You can also follow @CALFIRECZU on Twitter for evacuation orders and incident updates.
San Mateo County Resources: Click HERE
Santa Cruz County Resources: Click HERE
View the most current evacuation information HERE
Once the State of California’s major disaster declaration is approved, it will unlock federal
assistance from FEMA for individuals impacted by the fires as well as state and local officials.
Individual Assistance – Assistance to individuals and households, which may include:
Public Assistance – Assistance to State, Tribal, and local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations for emergency work and the repair or replacement of disaster- damaged facilities, which may include the following Categories:
- Debris removal
- Emergency protective measures
- Roads and bridges
- Water control facilities
- Buildings and equipment
- Parks, recreational and other facilities
Small Businesses – Please note that businesses impacted by the fires do not qualify for Individual or Public Assistance. If Federal Assistance is requested by the State and approved by the Small Business Administration, individuals and businesses can qualify for the following resources:
- Individuals: Home disaster loans to homeowners and renters to repair or replace disaster-related damages to home (up to $200,000) or personal property (up to
- Businesses: Business physical disaster loans to business owners to repair or replace disaster-damaged property, including inventory, and supplies and economic injury disaster loans, which provide capital to small businesses and to small agricultural cooperatives to assist them through the disaster recovery period (up to a combined $2 million).