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FEMA Administrator tours Almeda Fire damage

The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency saw the destruction left by the Almeda Fire firsthand on a tour with Oregon congressmen on Saturday.

Posted: Oct 3, 2020 9:40 PM

PHOENIX, Ore. — The administrator for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Pete Gaynor, toured the communities affected by the Almeda Fire on Saturday along with Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and Representative Greg Walden.

The congressmen hoped that if Gaynor saw the devastation firsthand, it would drive home the urgency needed to begin the clean-up process and get more funding from FEMA.

"Now [Gaynor] can say to his team, 'I've seen it, it's real. Do everything you can as fast as you can to help out the communities,'" Sen. Merkley said about Gaynor's visit.

One of the top priorities for the congressmen was removing debris so not only could the rebuilding process begin, but also removing potentially hazardous waste could prevent additional environmental damage. Sen. Wyden says speeding up that process is at the top of his list.

"I'm making it a special priority to cut through the red tape and get these communities the help they need for debris removal," Sen. Wyden said.

According to officials, the burnt homes could contain toxic materials which with rain could seep into the waterways in southern Oregon. There's a possibility for Fire Season-ending rain a week from Saturday, meaning time is of the essence.

"[Household hazardous waste debris is] the stuff that's really going to cause the most environmental impact and still poses a threat to health and safety in those communities," Andrew Phelps, the director of Oregon Emergency Management, said.

"I realize these things take time," Sen. Merkley said. "But time is kind of our enemy here so we just want to work with FEMA to keep accelerating the process."

"It's gonna be a long haul," Rep. Greg Walden said. "There's a lot of material that needs to be evaluated and removed and that's going to take time to do. And so we've just got to make sure as a community and a country we're doing everything we can to help these people."

"It is never fast enough. Recovery is never fast enough," Pete Gaynor said. "It's never fast enough for the survivors, it's not fast enough for me, and it's not fast enough for our state and local partners."

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 348766

Reported Deaths: 4161
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah54797689
Washington37988313
Marion36055444
Clackamas29094304
Lane26966298
Jackson22632300
Deschutes19577123
Umatilla14241144
Linn12380120
Douglas11795240
Josephine9233195
Yamhill8517110
Klamath7709110
Polk715380
Malheur551574
Benton529130
Coos489691
Columbia371343
Jefferson361450
Union313146
Lincoln310638
Wasco281540
Crook274745
Clatsop239529
Baker198028
Tillamook193328
Hood River188337
Morrow181623
Curry178122
Harney108424
Grant97612
Lake89011
Wallowa67012
Gilliam1484
Sherman1463
Wheeler991
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 4810222

Reported Deaths: 70598
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles147569426398
Riverside3693444990
San Diego3636444159
San Bernardino3563155566
Orange3227415518
Sacramento1576212279
Santa Clara1445181890
Kern1441461605
Fresno1441232051
Alameda1198871372
San Joaquin1018071708
Ventura1005241164
Contra Costa99234982
Stanislaus851571315
Tulare78945951
San Francisco54031645
San Mateo53828622
Monterey50696582
Solano45761334
Santa Barbara44836521
Merced41781577
Sonoma40711402
Placer38902415
Imperial35642764
Kings32369314
San Luis Obispo29653329
Madera23518281
Butte23364260
Shasta23360334
Santa Cruz20861218
Yolo20147247
Marin17581243
El Dorado16960149
Sutter13775169
Napa12808100
Yuba994282
Tehama9298104
Humboldt9102108
Nevada903990
Mendocino752786
Lassen746346
San Benito737372
Tuolumne673993
Lake6506104
Amador537264
Siskiyou442742
Glenn430330
Calaveras381780
Del Norte356141
Colusa301718
Inyo196739
Mono16445
Plumas15756
Mariposa127315
Trinity86011
Modoc6698
Unassigned1860
Sierra1760
Alpine1020
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