In late October, an atmospheric river drenched Northern California, bringing unusually heavy rains over a short period of time. There were concerns – and even a severe weather advisory – that they would result in flooding in the River Fire burn scar. While the rain did result in numerous road closures over the course of several days, as well as trees down in roadways and onto homes, it did not end up having a significant impact on the burn scar. Last week, our County GIS Analyst Alex Friant accompanied the California Geological Survey in an assessment of the entire River Fire burn scar to assess risk to property and life and will provide some suggested emergency measures. Alex took the photo shown here during that assessment.
Also, just in case you missed it, the Washington Post did an interesting article about the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) hazard mitigation assistance programs and how they specifically impacted the area where the River Fire burned. Not mentioned in the article is the fact that our own Senator Padilla has introduced a bill that would reform the Stafford Act – the funding mechanism behind FEMA. While the bill wouldn’t affect the specific FEMA program mentioned in the Washington Post article, it would have some other positive impacts for our community, such as:
- Increasing the federal cost share of disaster assistance from 75% to 90% where there are consecutive disasters and cumulative impacts
- Ensuring that debris or wreckage that could potentially be fuel for a subsequent disaster or is impeding the restoration of property is eligible for FEMA debris removal assistance
- Direct FEMA and the National Academy of Sciences to conduct a study on potential solutions to address the availability and affordability of wildfire insurance
We provided input to Senator Padilla’s office on the proposed language in the bill and it was formally introduced in early November.