CSAC Bulletin Article

President Biden Grants Sonoma County Pre-Disaster Aid

July 1, 2021

This week, President Biden and Vice President Harris met with Governors from Western States and announced that Sonoma County will receive $37 million in wildfire mitigation funds. 

Sonoma County was one of the first to apply for the new Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) program, which replaces the former Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) program. According to FEMA, jurisdictions applied for $3.6 billion in funds, but only $500 million was available for distribution in the current grant cycle. The program aids primarily with flood control, infrastructure and utility resilience, and retrofitting of buildings, but also aids in various other costs including wildfire prevention measures.

At the meeting, also attended by Gov. Gavin Newsom, Biden said he is temporarily raising pay for federal firefighters to ensure that no one fighting wildland fires is making less than $15 per hour. Governor Gavin Newsom also announced on Tuesday that the state had secured a Fire Management Assistance Grant (FMAG) from FEMA, specifically to address the ongoing Lava Fire in Siskiyou County. The grant, Newsom said, will assist local, state, and tribal agencies responding to the fire, and they can apply for 75-percent reimbursement of eligible fire suppression costs.

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