Congressman John Garamendi

Representing the 3rd District of California
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Garamendi Congratulates Sutter County Fire Department on Earning $438,000 Federal Grant

July 17, 2014
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC- Today, Congressman John Garamendi (D-Fairfield, CA), former Deputy Secretary of the Department of Interior, is pleased to commend the Sutter County Fire Department on earning a competitive Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant to improve the level of preparedness and ability to respond to fires and related hazards. The grant is part of the $288 million Assistance to Firefighters Grant program that is awarded to first-responder organizations that need emergency response equipment, personal protective equipment, firefighting and emergency vehicles, and training. This program, part of the Department of Homeland Security, is an important component of the larger, coordinated effort to strengthen the nation’s overall level of preparedness and ability to respond to fires and related hazards.

“I commend the efforts of Chief John Shalowitz and the Sutter County Fire Department in securing this grant to increase preparedness for disasters such as the Monticello Fire. I believe partnerships between national agencies such as FEMA and our local fire departments are essential to combating wildfires, and I look forward to seeing more of these partnerships,” said Congressman Garamendi.

As conditions worsen with the ongoing drought, funding for fire prevention is becoming even more crucial for the state of California. Assistance to local fire departments from grants such as the AFG is essential to ensuring our firefighters have the best equipment and resources to combat fires such as the Monticello fire near Lake Berryessa which burned nearly 6,500 acres in Northern California and required 1,533 firefighters, 121 engines, 46 fire crews, three helicopters, 18 bulldozers and 25 water tenders.

Last week, Congressman Garamendi signed a petition to discharge H.R. 3992, the bipartisan Wildfire Disaster Funding Act, to the House Floor for a final vote. The bill would increase funding to prevent wildfires. The bipartisan Wildfire Disaster Funding Act makes commonsense changes to federal law to treat the budget for federal wildfires like the budget for other major disasters, such as floods and hurricanes. It ensures that money intended for forest management activities is used as it was originally intended. For example, it would ensure resources go to needed ongoing services like general forest management and hazardous fuel reductions that would help to prevent catastrophic fires. When firefighting costs balloon beyond appropriated levels, the bill requires the use of contingency money rather than dipping into forest management money.

Grants such as the AFG and smart legislation such as the Wildfire Disaster Funding Act ensure that costs associated with fighting wildfires is minimized through essential fire mitigation practices and the use of efficient and reliable equipment.