Governor Kate Brown Statement on Oregon’s Request for a Federal Emergency Declaration for Wildfires
(Salem, OR) — Governor Kate Brown issued the following statement today on her requestto President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., to approve a federal emergency declaration for the State of Oregon — under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act — due to extreme risk of significant wildfires:
“Last week, as Oregon faced forecasted high winds, sustained hot and dry conditions, and the potential for lightning — and with 168,000 acres burning across the state at the time — Oregonians braced for increased and worsening fires. State firefighting teams and agencies, along with local partners and resources brought in from California and Washington through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, mobilized to prepare for a swift response and to protect lives, communities, and our natural resources.
“Thanks to science and data, we know enough in the days ahead of anticipated weather and fire patterns — just like states that prepare for hurricanes — that it is imperative to communicate with the public, pre-position resources for our fire response, and employ preventive measures, such as public safety power shut-offs. All of these efforts reflect a modernized approach to meeting the needs of fighting the fires of this century; they are proactive measures that we can take to protect communities and save lives.
“The request I made for a federal disaster declaration is critical to helping bolster our state’s response, and it presents an opportunity for Oregon to partner with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to bridge the gaps we know exist as we work hard to protect our communities. We still have several weeks of peak fire season ahead of us, five large active fires, and 274,000 acres burning statewide. If granted, Oregon would be the first state ever to receive such a declaration for wildfire response — but unfortunately, certainly not the last to need this important assistance.
“I am incredibly grateful for the strong partnership we have with the Biden-Harris administration and with FEMA, with whom we have worked over the past several years on various emergencies. I urge their earnest consideration of my request so that, together, we can protect Oregonians and our communities, and serve as a model of federal support for states facing the ongoing threat of wildfires.”