CSAC Bulletin Article

Presidential Major Disaster Declared in Four Counties

August 26, 2021

This week, California secured a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration for the Dixie and River fires, currently burning in Lassen, Nevada, Placer, and Plumas counties. A Presidential Major Disaster Declaration opens the door for a wide range of federal assistance programs to assist state and local governments in responding to and recovering from natural disasters.

In order to qualify for this declaration, the Governor of the affected state, or leader of the affected Tribe, must submit a request that finds the situation is too severe for the state, local, and tribal governments to respond. Governor Newsom sent an official request to the President for the Dixie and River fires, as well as the Antelope, McFarland, and Monument fires, all of which are all actively burning in northern California. Fires that were not included, including the Caldor Fire, may be added to the declaration as conditions allow for more assessments on the scope of damage to be safely conducted.

In addition to the Presidential Declaration, the federal government has provided Fire Management Assistance Grants (FMAG) from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help ensure the availability of vital resources for the French, Dixie, Caldor, Monument, River, and Lava Fires. The FMAG, which is provided through the President’s Disaster Relief Fund on a cost-share basis, will enable local, state and tribal agencies responding to the fire to apply for 75 percent reimbursement of their eligible fire suppression costs. To receive an FMAG, a Local or State fire agency must submit a request to the California Office of Emergency Services while the fire is burning uncontrolled.

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