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White House approves emergency funding to Oregon for wildfires, Rep. DeFazio says

The federal government will help cover some of the emergency costs of Oregon’s wildfires, a U.S. lawmaker from Oregon confirmed.

The White House approval of Oregon’s emergency declaration request comes several days after Gov. Kate Brown declared a statewide emergency for wildfires that have caused massive destruction around the state.

U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio, a Democrat from Springfield, said in a news release the Federal Emergency Management Agency will cover assistance for temporary housing for those displaced by the fire, as well as additional firefighting resources.

Also on Thursday night, FEMA announced that it had authorized the use of federal funds specifically to help with fighting the fires in Clackamas County Complex Fire. In addition to reimbursement for fighting the fires, more than $629,000 in mitigation assistance will be available to Oregon.

“Oregon is facing an unprecedented crisis, and this decision to declare an emergency comes not a moment too soon,” DeFazio said. “With tens of thousands of Oregonians — who are already dealing with public health concerns and economic uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic — forced to evacuate their homes, it’s imperative that the state has the resources it needs to provide safe temporary housing for all who need it.”

A spokesperson for DeFazio’s office noted that the declaration does not allot a certain dollar amount to the disasters, but that FEMA will retroactively help cover the economic toll of the disaster. She said she does not know how much of the damage FEMA will cover.—Jayati Ramakrishnan; 503-221-4320; jramakrishnan@oregonian.com; @JRamakrishnanOR

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