Padilla Convenes Roundtable with Local Leaders to Announce Efforts to Improve Federal Wildfire Assistance
SANTA ROSA, CA – Today, U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) hosted a discussion and listening roundtable with local leaders in Santa Rosa on wildfire prevention, response, and recovery efforts. Padilla heard from leaders on the state of local wildfire preparedness and recovery measures and announced efforts to better support local communities in their response to the threat of current and future wildfires.
“As California faces historic drought and wildfires, it’s clear that addressing the climate crisis and improving our state’s resiliency must be at the top of our infrastructure priority list,” said Senator Padilla. “Sonoma and Napa Counties have repeatedly experienced the devastation of wildfires—homes and businesses destroyed, crops tainted by smoke, and lives lost—and now that threat is very real across the state. I appreciated the opportunity to hear from local leaders on the ground, and I look forward to turning that knowledge into new legislation to ensure California’s priorities are reflected in any federal infrastructure investments Congress passes in the coming months.”
Senator Alex Padilla was joined by Representative Mike Thompson (CA-05); Lynda Hopkins, President of Sonoma County Board of Supervisors; James Gore, Sonoma County District 4 Supervisor; Mark Heine, Sonoma County Fire Chief; Diane Dillon, Napa County District 3 Supervisor; Jason Martin, Napa County Fire Chief; Chris Rogers, City of Santa Rosa Mayor; Scott Westrope, City of Santa Rosa Fire Chief; Reno Franklin, Kashia Pomo Tribe Chair Emeritus; Karissa Kruse, Sonoma County Winegrowers President; Dr. Lisa Micheli, After the Fires Director; Ben Nicholls, CAL FIRE Sonoma-Lake-Napa Unit Division Chief; Kim Zagaris, CAL OES Former State Fire and Rescue Chief.
On Tuesday, the White House approved Governor Gavin Newsom’s request for a major disaster declaration for California in response to a series of devastating wildfires, which Senator Padilla advocated for in a letter sent to President Biden earlier this week.
As record-breaking wildfires in California and across the West occur more frequently, Senator Padilla has introduced and pushed for numerous initiatives to address this rising threat. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which Senator Padilla helped pass this month, would provide $692 million nationally to carry out hazardous fuels reduction projects across the United States, removing vegetation to make wildfires less severe and more easily contained. The legislation also includes $450 million nationally to carry out Burned Area Rehabilitation programs that repair landscapes and small infrastructure damaged by wildfires, which will help build resilience against future fires. This month, Senator Padilla introduced the Wildfire-Resilient Communities Act and Smoke-Ready Communities Act, aimed at battling wildfires, protecting workers, and helping combat the effects of wildfire smoke.