Heated Debate Burns Fire Relief

Alison Perkins and Justin Cox

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  Due to the government shutdown, President Donald Trump threatened to pull wildlife relief funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

  “Billions of dollars are sent to the State of California for Forest fires that, with proper Forest Management, would never happen. Unless they get their act together, which is unlikely, I have ordered FEMA to send no more money,” President Trump declared.”

  These funds would go towards cleanup, reconstruction, and prevention going forward. In the case of Sonoma County, The Press Democrat has reported the county has “submitted at least 20 different requests for roughly $24 million to fund fire-hardening work, seismic retrofitting and other disaster mitigation projects.” The withdrawal of these funds would impact both the students of SVHS and citizens of Sonoma, as the money is being used to prevent fires of the magnitude which struck the valley just over a year ago.

  These funds are currently in limbo as they are all being withheld due the shutdown. Until these funds are received, major restoration and cleanup projects will be postponed, and it will be difficult for the hundreds of communities affected by the fires to recover, including the $305 million project pledged by the government to fund new helicopters, planes,  infrared cameras, and new communication equipment.Without these federal funds to rebuild communities and return to a normal way of life, it will be solely up to the individual communities and the state budget to fund these efforts. Now that the shutdown is temporarily over, the fate of these funds are still in question as many areas of California await financial assistance from the federal government.