Oregon Delegation Welcomes New FEMA Wildfire Assistance

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and U.S. Reps. Peter DeFazio, Earl Blumenauer and Suzanne Bonamici said today that federal officials have notified them that eight Oregon counties will get assistance for removing and disposing hazardous materials and solid waste debris as part of response and recovery to the wildfires.

The news that Clackamas, Douglas, Jackson, Klamath, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, and Marion counties would receive what’s known as Category A assistance follows a Sept. 24 letter making that request to FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor from the Oregon lawmakers, led by Wyden and DeFazio.

“I heard consistently from Oregonians this past weekend while touring fire-devastated communities with Administrator Gaynor how worried they are about growing mountains of hazardous materials left by these blazes that ripped through their communities,” Wyden said. “I’m glad FEMA has recognized the urgency of this situation as fall rains comes and the risks grow of dangerous debris leeching into waterways for these eight counties, and I’ll continue working to get this Category A assistance into all Oregon communities needing to dispose of any hazardous materials from these horrific wildfires.

“I’ve driven over 1,000 miles around our state to see up close the unfathomable damage this unprecedented wildfire season has caused—and what I’ve seen is truly heartbreaking,” said Merkley. “On behalf of all Oregonians, I thank the firefighters and first responders, as well as all who are working around the clock to clean up hazardous materials left behind in the wake of the blazes. This support to help safely clean up toxic debris is absolutely critical to many of our communities, and I will continue to do everything I can to secure the resources we need to recover and build back stronger.”

“As we work to rebuild our community, safe removal of the hazardous materials and debris left behind by the fire is one of our top priorities,” said Rep. DeFazio. “It’s critical to expedite the removal of this dangerous waste before it can leech into critical watersheds, including the McKenzie River. I’m grateful to FEMA for their quick response and will continue to work closely with federal agencies to ensure Oregon receives the assistance we need to recover from this disaster.”

“The wildfires that raged through Oregon caused great devastation, and we must continue doing all we can to help our communities recover as quickly as possible,” said Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici. “I’m grateful FEMA is acting quickly in response to our requests for assistance in removing and disposing harmful waste and debris.”

A web version of this release is here.