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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: 214869

Reported Deaths: 2836
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah41288617
Washington27471257
Marion24180329
Clackamas19603240
Lane14464171
Jackson12195151
Deschutes1035787
Umatilla918292
Linn607281
Yamhill496981
Klamath490279
Douglas423587
Polk421556
Josephine395874
Malheur365067
Benton338722
Jefferson245642
Coos226839
Columbia204732
Union159024
Lincoln151122
Wasco149831
Crook136824
Hood River124634
Morrow120317
Clatsop111810
Baker105717
Curry75512
Tillamook7285
Grant5577
Lake4848
Harney45111
Wallowa2086
Gilliam841
Sherman772
Wheeler351
Unassigned00

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Cases: 3894556

Reported Deaths: 64228
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San Bernardino3040755236
Riverside3040604657
San Diego2906253793
Orange2787205141
Santa Clara1217672099
Sacramento1128961770
Kern1123181417
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Alameda939531272
Ventura829751041
San Joaquin760341446
Contra Costa74030830
Stanislaus650191085
Tulare50104854
Monterey44273524
San Mateo43880588
San Francisco38954561
Solano35193259
Santa Barbara35189465
Merced32814484
Sonoma31965328
Imperial28996745
Placer24530304
Kings23366248
San Luis Obispo21717264
Madera16885249
Santa Cruz16452207
Marin14589238
Yolo14574214
Butte12982203
Shasta12804242
El Dorado10774120
Napa1025281
Sutter9965115
Yuba681651
San Benito622963
Lassen586826
Tehama581566
Nevada518375
Humboldt489753
Mendocino457150
Tuolumne433473
Lake396364
Amador381648
Siskiyou252740
Glenn245727
Colusa233918
Calaveras227958
Del Norte15518
Inyo145338
Mono13125
Plumas7626
Modoc5737
Mariposa4857
Trinity4486
Sierra1240
Alpine890
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