Press Releases

Senators Feinstein, Boxer and Members of California Delegation Urge President Bush to Upgrade California’s Emergency Declaration in Wake of Devastating Wildfires

- Senators ask President Bush to declare a major disaster declaration; would extend emergency resources, provide relief to California families -

Washington, DC – U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer (both D-Calif.) along with members of California’s congressional delegation, today called on President Bush to upgrade the current emergency declaration in California to a major disaster declaration in the wake of recent wildfires throughout California.

This year, more than 2,000 fires have burned more than 1.3 million acres across the state. Eleven fires are still burning. Damages are estimated in excess of $175 million.

Declaring a major disaster under the Stafford Act would extend emergency resources and relief to more than 300 California families who have lost their homes and help defray firefighting and recovery costs incurred by state and local governments.

Following is the text of the letter sent by Senators Feinstein, Boxer and members of the California delegation to President Bush:

August 14, 2008 

The Honorable George W. Bush
The White House
Washington, DC 20500 

We write to request that you upgrade the current emergency declaration in our State to a major disaster declaration in the wake of the devastation wrought by recent wildfires.  The additional services and funding made available through this Federal assistance will be critical to the recovery of the affected California counties. 

To date, 2,096 fires have burned over 1.3 million acres in our State, and 11 fires continue to burn, threatening lives and property.  The total cost of these fires has placed a heavy burden on California’s financial resources with estimated costs of more than $175 million.  It is only mid-August and the historical peak of the California fire season is yet to come.  

As you know, on August 13, 2008, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger requested that you upgrade your emergency declaration to a major disaster declaration under the Stafford Act.  We respectfully urge you to declare a major disaster for our State.  This extension of emergency resources will provide much needed relief to the more than 300 California families who have already lost their homes and help defray the costs that State and local governments have incurred to fight these fires and will incur recovering from them.      

We also believe that the Governor’s request to retroactively extend the declaration to May 22, 2008 will more accurately reflect the beginning of this disaster. 

Please know that we will continue to do our part to provide additional resources for fire suppression activities, helping to ensure that disasters like this are prevented in the future.   

Thank you for your consideration and continued support during this difficult fire season.  


Dianne Feinstein                                                               Barbara Boxer
United States Senator                                                      United States Senator 

Mike Thompson                                                                 Wally Herger
Member of Congress                                                        Member of Congress 

David Dreier                                                                        George P. Radanovich
Member of Congress                                                         Member of Congress

George Miller                                                                       Brian P. Bilbray
Member of Congress                                                         Member of Congress 

Howard P. “Buck” McKeon                                                 Jackie Speier
Member of Congress                                                         Member of Congress 

Michael M. Honda                                                                Kevin McCarthy
Member of Congress                                                          Member of Congress

Darrell E. Issa                                                                       Devin Nunes
Member of Congress                                                           Member of Congress 

Anna G. Eshoo
Member of Congress 


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