Senator Alex Padilla provides resources to North Bay communities prone to wildfires – NBC Bay Area


The smoke and fire in northern California is an unwelcome reminder to thousands of people in Sonoma and Napa counties, both rebuilding themselves after years of blaze dating back to 2017.

U.S. Democratic Senator Alex Padilla has traveled to Santa Rosa to ask community leaders what they need to prevent another destructive wildfire.

He took notes as a city official explained the hardships and challenges they continue to face as a result of the forest fires.

“We literally go from a fire to a flood, to a pandemic, within a year, so we’re basically always in disaster response or recovery mode,” said Lynda Hopkins, chairman of the board. supervisors from Sonoma County.

Padilla was also there to listen to those responsible for the fires and tribal leaders.

“We need more funding for prevention, for reduction of hazardous fuels, for staffing,” said Reno Franklin, President Emeritus of the Kashia Pomo Tribe.

And the winegrowers on the results of the fires and the possible solutions.

“We suffered about 40%, or about $ 300 million in financial impact due to crop loss in Sonoma County last year,” Kruse said.

The senator says that it is obvious that climate change changes the rules and the risks and that we need solutions quickly.

“We are experiencing prolonged droughts,” Padilla said. “We experience increasingly hot summers and we see record forest fires every year. Climate change has happened and it adds to the urgency in which we must act. “

Upon returning to Washington DC, Padilla says he will push for emergency funding and plans to support a $ 7 billion hurricane and fire compensation program.

He also says he will contact the state’s insurance commissioner to make sure businesses are more responsive to the needs of Californians who have lost homes in the fires.

“When it takes years and years, it’s far too long for local governments to receive funding or be reimbursed or for a homeowner to wait for the funding they deserve through their insurance companies.” , said Padilla.

Congressman Mike Thompson, also present at the roundtable, said there was another problem: finding reasonably priced insurance in communities threatened by wildfires, even when they have gone all out. possible to reduce their risk.

“I have a number of constituents who have invested a lot of money in resilience and they haven’t seen any help from their insurance companies,” he said.

Earlier this month, Congress passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

It provides nearly $ 700 million to help clear forests of vegetation and make forest fires less severe and destructive, and nearly half a billion dollars to restore burnt forests and fire damaged infrastructure. .

Local leaders urge Padilla and Thompson to do their best to ensure cities, fire departments and homeowners get the help they need in a timely manner to prevent more serious wildfires and recover when affected by fire.

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