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Statement from Rep. Peter DeFazio on Wildfires Impacting Oregon

Sep 9, 2020
Press Release

Rep. Peter DeFazio today released the following statement on the wildfires impacting southwest Oregon and other parts of the state: 

“First, I want to express my deep gratitude to the firefighters, search-and-rescue teams, first responders, and emergency managers who are putting their lives on the line to extinguish the fires, rescue our neighbors, protect property, share vital information about evacuations, and coordinate response.  I also want to thank the hundreds of volunteers and the many organizations who have stepped up to help those in need.  We truly are all in this together.

“I have been in close contact with federal, state and local officials, including Lane County Commissioners, the Bureau of Land Management, the Oregon Department of Forestry, and the U.S. Forest Service Chief, on response and recovery efforts.

“Furthermore, I spoke with Governor Brown to offer my help in marshalling federal resources to Oregon communities as we respond to and recover from this disaster. As Chair of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), I urged the governor to seek a major disaster declaration, including direct assistance to individuals and homeowners.

“I have joined the entire Oregon congressional delegation in sending a bipartisan letter to President Trump urging him to quickly approve Governor Brown’s disaster declaration request. Tomorrow, I will push FEMA Administrator Gaynor directly to ensure southwestern Oregon gets the help we need for this new emergency.

“Current conditions require that the firefighters on the ground have aerial imaging in order to locate, contain, and extinguish these catastrophic fires. I was able to help the US Forest Service secure much-needed aerial imagery to help combat the fires.

“The danger has not subsided. It’s imperative that all Oregonians in the path of these fires listen to evacuation recommendations and take precaution. If you and your family need help, please reach out to my Eugene office. I’ve also listed resources for wildfire relief on my website at defazio.house.gov.

“The scale of this disaster is heartbreaking. Entire communities have been leveled, and tragically, lives have been lost. The limits of our resources, health, faith and patience are being tested as we are buffeted by yet another crisis, but I believe in the strength of our community and know that we will come back stronger than before.”

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