Oregon Gov. Kate Brown Requests That A Federal Wildfire Emergency Be Declared For The State!
Due to the significant wildfire risks in Oregon, Governor Kate Brown has requested that President Joe Biden issue a federal emergency declaration. As a result, Oregon would become the first state to obtain a presidential emergency order due to wildfires.
On September 9, state officials warned of increased fire danger due to drought and high winds reaching up to 50 miles per hour in parts of the Illinois Valley, close to the southwest coast, the lower Klamath Valley, and the Cascade and Coast Ranges, Brown sent a letter to Biden requesting the federal assistance.
There are currently 32 active wildfires in the state, consuming more than 160,000 acres of land and forcing nearly 2,500 people to flee. Peak fire season is still many weeks away, according to Brown. It is planned for the fire season to go until October.
In her letter, Brown expressed her expectation that state and local governments would not be able to respond to wildfires given their size and intensity adequately. Brown stated that due to the severe staff.
Resource shortage caused by fires in other Western states, Oregon needs direct federal help for emergency power generation and emergency clearance of debris, mass care, evacuation support, and communications.
She said that announcing a federal emergency “is vital to supporting our state’s response and gives Oregon a chance to cooperate with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to fill the gaps we know exist.”
Since March, a large portion of Oregon has experienced extreme drought conditions. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration report that the West is experiencing the worst drought in 1,200 years and the driest 22-year period on record.
If granted, Oregon would be the first state to receive a Presidential Emergency Declaration for wildfire through a proactive request based on forecasted conditions and fire activity—similar to states that receive such declarations for anticipated hurricanes.
— Governor Kate Brown (@OregonGovBrown) September 14, 2022
This summer, Brown has increased state funding for drought conditions in 17 counties through six executive directives. She also directed the Oregon Department of Emergency Management to carry out an emergency operations plan.
Activate the State Emergency Coordination Center, a command center coordinating interagency emergency responses to wildfires, for four fires this summer in central and eastern Oregon.
FEMA assisted in Oregon during the 2020 Labor Day fires, which burnt over a million acres in 72 hours and affected people in 20 counties. In a statement regarding her letter, Brown said, “Oregon would be the first state ever to receive such a designation for wildfire response, but regrettably, likely not the last to need this vital help.”
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