The declaration will help residents through eligibility for programs and support that can include housing assistance, counseling, and medical and legal services.
As massive destructive wildfires continue to spread across regions in Northern California, the western U.S. state has secured a major disaster declaration from President Joe Biden.
"California is grateful for President Biden's swift approval of our request and the ongoing work of our heroic firefighters and emergency responders to protect communities across Northern California," said California Governor Gavin Newsom, noting that the declaration makes vital resources available as the state continue to work in lockstep with local and federal partners to meet the challenge of these catastrophic wildfires and support communities in recovery.
Newsom submitted the request for a major disaster declaration on Monday to bolster the ongoing emergency response to wildfires and support impacted communities in Lassen, Nevada, Placer, and Plumas counties.
The request approved by Biden is specific to the Dixie and River fires. Other fires, including the Caldor Fire, may be included once fire conditions allow state, local and federal officials to safely assess the scope of damage.
The declaration will help residents in the impacted counties through eligibility for programs and support that can include housing assistance, counseling, medical services and legal services. It also includes public assistance to help state, tribal and local governments with ongoing emergency response and recovery costs and hazard mitigation.
The Dixie Fire, which started on July 13, has grown to the largest wildfire so far this year in the country. The devastating wildfire has incinerated over 735,000 acres and destroyed 1,273 residential, commercial and other structures, said the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire).
The Caldor Fire, now the third-largest active fire in California, has burned over 126,000 acres and destroyed 637 structures to date. The 11-day explosive wildfire is moving closer to Lake Tahoe, which straddles the state line between California and Nevada. The North America's largest mountain lake is a major tourist attraction in the country, attracting around 15 million people per year.
California and most of the U.S. West are in the grip of a severe drought of historic proportions. Today, over 14,200 firefighters remain on the frontlines of 12 active large wildfires that have burned over 1.62 million acres.