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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: 70832

Reported Deaths: 885
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah15875232
Washington997499
Marion9017137
Clackamas585377
Umatilla430149
Lane420241
Jackson364428
Malheur237942
Deschutes222814
Yamhill164816
Linn138522
Polk116816
Douglas91217
Jefferson80811
Union7715
Benton7667
Klamath7604
Morrow6517
Lincoln61315
Wasco51919
Josephine5104
Columbia4783
Coos4182
Hood River3941
Clatsop3510
Baker2723
Crook2176
Grant1341
Curry1292
Tillamook1230
Lake1171
Harney961
Wallowa713
Sherman230
Gilliam220
Wheeler30
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1185576

Reported Deaths: 19089
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles3877937604
San Bernardino902221129
Riverside857741437
San Diego76359996
Orange750951577
Kern40337448
Fresno37724481
Sacramento35854566
Santa Clara32985476
Alameda28857505
San Joaquin25738502
Contra Costa23571261
Stanislaus21460424
Tulare20649308
Ventura19058175
Imperial15862356
San Francisco15156160
Monterey14750116
San Mateo13715170
Sonoma11922157
Merced11537179
Santa Barbara11277135
Kings1047587
Solano1003681
Marin7628129
Placer635468
Madera604785
San Luis Obispo596435
Shasta471847
Yolo462675
Santa Cruz426928
Butte389459
Sutter314415
Napa298817
El Dorado22174
Yuba198110
San Benito183716
Lassen17733
Tehama161225
Mendocino148522
Nevada11849
Tuolumne9088
Glenn8928
Lake89019
Humboldt8509
Colusa6946
Siskiyou6242
Mono5273
Amador52016
Calaveras47822
Del Norte3131
Inyo29016
Plumas2050
Trinity1390
Mariposa1282
Modoc1250
Alpine470
Sierra190
Unassigned00
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Foggy Saturday morning with afternoon clouds
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