Press Releases

Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) released the following statement on wildfire mitigation and drought resiliency funding included in the disaster supplemental portion of the continuing resolution bill Congress passed today:

“Congress passed a bill today that will keep the government open as we continue to debate long-term funding priorities. That bill included a disaster supplemental with important wildfire and drought provisions for California.

“The $29 billion disaster portion of the bill will provide relief for the recent victims of wildfires and other natural disasters as well as farmers who lost crops due to wildfire and smoke damage. I thank my Senate and House colleagues for working with me to include these vital funds.

“It will also address the shortage of federal wildland firefighters. The bill makes it easier to recruit and keep firefighters on the job by lifting the overtime pay cap so they’re more fairly compensated for their dangerous work. 

“The bill provides $200 million to help western states experiencing severe drought. And it helps us prepare for future droughts by investing nearly $240 million to improve California’s water infrastructure.

“As we negotiate long-term government funding and an agreement on infrastructure legislation, Congress must recognize the fact that these intense wildfires and droughts are being driven by climate change. We need to pass a package that accepts that reality and addresses the climate crisis we’re facing.”

Wildfire provisions:

  • The bill helps 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 provides $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 also provides $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 provides $200 million to the Bureau of Reclamation for projects to address drought in the West.

  • The bill approves $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.