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Sens. Wyden, Merkley push for wildfire relief funds in next COVID-19 bill

U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden of Oregon lead a group of lawmakers requesting wildfire relief funding in the next coronavirus package currently being debated in Congress.

Posted: Dec 8, 2020 4:42 PM

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden of Oregon lead a group of lawmakers requesting wildfire relief funding in the next coronavirus package currently being debated in Congress.

“Entire communities in Oregon and across the West were leveled to ash in the wake of this year's wildfire season--lives lost and homes and small businesses destroyed, and all on top of a life-threatening global pandemic,” Wyden said. “With the blow 2020 delivered to these communities, Congress has a responsibility to provide for their recovery and invest in preventing future devastation.”

Joined by a number of other Democratic lawmakers, Wyden and Merkley's letter calls for more economic relief to small cities and towns that did not directly benefit from the original CARES Act, with the intent of keeping firefighters and other first responders on the payroll.

The letter also calls for investments in fire risk mitigation, such as the establishment of a "21st Century Civilian Conservation Corps" to work on forest management; federal support for FEMA grants; late-season interagency hotshot crews; higher pay and benefits for federal firefighters; and more funding for fire recovery efforts in communities impacted by the recent wildfires.

“In September, I drove over 600 miles across our state to meet with Oregonians who suffered tremendous loss, and to get an up close look at the damage from this year’s unprecedented wildfires,” said Merkley. “What I saw and heard was heartbreaking — reports of lives lost, homes destroyed, and entire towns leveled. As we continue down the long road to recovery, I’m going to keep doing everything I can to help our communities get back on their feet, and to reduce the risk of this type of massive destruction from ever happening again.”

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 361240

Reported Deaths: 4318
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah56287712
Washington39109325
Marion37168457
Clackamas30096309
Lane28087306
Jackson23248310
Deschutes20680125
Umatilla14567151
Linn13113132
Douglas12237251
Josephine9451198
Yamhill8820114
Klamath8146122
Polk746481
Malheur568578
Benton559831
Coos510295
Columbia388144
Jefferson381254
Lincoln324139
Union321550
Crook296346
Wasco291941
Clatsop244828
Baker204529
Tillamook198033
Hood River195837
Morrow186623
Curry182725
Harney114727
Grant100213
Lake96012
Wallowa69312
Gilliam1594
Sherman1573
Wheeler1091
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 4854041

Reported Deaths: 71417
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles148510526549
Riverside3716705041
San Diego3678574183
San Bernardino3586775720
Orange3251235578
Sacramento1596362313
Kern1472941652
Fresno1463182094
Santa Clara1455431897
Alameda1206921415
San Joaquin1027761721
Ventura1010381167
Contra Costa1000181008
Stanislaus862991335
Tulare80375978
San Francisco54440649
San Mateo54168623
Monterey50911586
Solano46063341
Santa Barbara45223523
Merced42422581
Sonoma40997404
Placer39435429
Imperial36071766
Kings32938325
San Luis Obispo29973333
Madera23955285
Shasta23924352
Butte23818273
Santa Cruz21034221
Yolo20397248
Marin17706244
El Dorado17207149
Sutter13937175
Napa12898100
Yuba1011582
Tehama9534110
Humboldt9269109
Nevada916790
Mendocino766787
Lassen758747
San Benito744972
Tuolumne691790
Lake6631105
Amador547364
Siskiyou451246
Glenn438433
Calaveras391481
Del Norte358742
Colusa307618
Inyo214241
Mono16723
Plumas16607
Mariposa133916
Trinity88011
Modoc6895
Sierra1880
Unassigned1460
Alpine1050
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