Western senators launch push to tap FEMA funds for wildfire disaster recovery

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A bipartisan group of western senators introduced legislation today to allow states affected by catastrophic wildfires to tap into federal disaster mitigation assistance to help them recover. That assistance now goes to recovery efforts for other types of disasters, from hurricanes to floods, for which there’s been a presidential designation of a major disaster. But wildfires seldom receive those disaster designations. The bill, proposed by Sens. Michael Bennet, D-Colo.; Mike Crapo, R-Idaho; Jon Tester, D-Mont.; Jim Risch, R-Idaho; and Ron Wyden, D-Ore.; would let wildfire-stricken states apply for those funds anyway to help communities recover and to prevent future wildfires. “Throughout the American West, we have felt firsthand the devastation...

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