We know all too well that the extent of the damage from California’s wildfires last year was nothing less than devastating. Eighty-six Americans lost their lives, and roughly 11,000 homes and 3,000 businesses were destroyed by the Camp Fire.
Survivors with nowhere to go pitched tents in parking lots. Volunteers came together to support our fellow Californians with food and clothing, even opening up their homes.
New Way leader Chad Mayes recently introduced the California Wildfire Catastrophe Fund. This fund acts as a reinsurance pool to help victims rebuild their lives while protecting ratepayers.
Yet the response from Washington has put a roadblock on progress.
President Trump threatened to cut off relief for survivors and communities destroyed by California’s worst wildfires on record, despite the fact that 57% of forest land in California is owned and managed by federal agencies. State and local agencies own only 3%.
THE ROLE OF FOREST MANAGEMENT
Federal officials have placed blame on California's forest management. EPA administrator Andrew Wheeling even cited forest management as the chief cause of the increased wildfires. But that’s not the whole story. Studies show that regardless of who is responsible for the land,hotter, drier summers are linked to the sharp increase in large wildfires.
President Trump has repeatedly rejected climate change’s role in California’s fires, stating that the fires are avoidable. This thinking is overly simplistic and ignores research that shows the increase in wildfires is a more complex problem.
CLIMATE WAKE-UP CALL
We need FEMA funding to rebuild our communities and it is time to tell Washington to stop playing politics with people's lives. Rather than using forest management as a red herring, the Camp Fire should be a wake-up call for lawmakers in California and in Washington.
We must take action now to ensure that resources and regulations are in place to protect our environment, prevent future tragedy and fight climate change. New Way’s mission to put people over politics has never been more important.
Please help us continue to share these important messages by supporting New Way California.