Press Releases

Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) released the following statement on wildfire and drought funding included in the disaster supplemental bill that was introduced in the House today:

“Wildfire and drought are two of California’s greatest concerns. The disaster supplemental bill includes significant funding that I have supported to address these critical challenges.

“The bill includes nearly $29 billion in relief for the victims of wildfires and other natural disasters, including farmers who lost crops due to the recent wildfires. The bill would also help us recruit and retain more federal wildland firefighters by lifting the overtime pay cap so they’re more fairly compensated for their dangerous work. 

“The bill provides $200 million to help communities in the West that are experiencing severe drought. And it approves nearly $240 million to improve California’s water infrastructure so we can continue to prepare for future droughts.

“The intense wildfires and droughts we’re experiencing are a direct result of climate change. As we work to drastically reduce our carbon emissions, this disaster supplemental recognizes the reality that California is dealing with the effects of climate change right now and provides some much-needed relief.”

Wildfire provisions:

  • The bill would help recruit and retain more federal wildland firefighters by waiving the federal overtime pay cap for calendar year 2021 that limits the number of overtime hours that can be paid to fight wildfires.

  • This bill would provide $1.36 billion to the Forest Service to deal with consequences of wildfires that have burned since 2019, including:

    • $175 million for burned area rehabilitation activities.

    • $175 million for hazardous fuels management.
  • This bill would also provide $10 billion to the Department of Agriculture for crop losses from droughts, wildfires, hurricanes, floods, excessive heat, smoke exposure and other natural disasters.

Drought provisions:

  • The bill would provide $200 million to the Bureau of Reclamation for projects to address drought in the West.

  • The bill would approve $238 million for water infrastructure projects to improve California’s drought resilience, including:

    • $205 million for storage projects: $80 million for Sites Reservoir, $60 million for BF Sisk Dam Raise, $50 million for Los Vaqueros Reservoir expansion and $15 million for Del Puerto Canyon Reservoir.

    • $21 million for nine water recycling projects in California.

    • $12 million for four desalination projects in California.