SACRAMENTO – In letters to President Barack Obama, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today requested Presidential major disaster declarations for the state following the Valley Fire and Butte Fire, which have scorched more than 145,000 acres, taken lives and destroyed thousands of homes and structures.
A Presidential Major Disaster Declaration triggers the release of federal funds to support fire victims and supplement ongoing state and local disaster recovery efforts.
The Butte Fire has burned over 70,760 acres and is already considered the 12th most destructive wildfire in California history. The state has already verified the destruction of 475 homes and 343 nonresidential properties. More than 12,000 residents were ordered to evacuate and nearly 100 survivors remain in three shelters. The Butte Fire has taken two lives and several residents are missing. Since the fire is still burning and given the remoteness of the area, the number of fatalities could grow.
The Valley Fire has burned over 75,111 acres and is already considered the fourth most destructive wildfire in California history. The state has already verified the destruction of 1,238 homes. More than 19,300 residents were ordered to evacuate and several hundred survivors remain in eight shelters. The fire has taken three lives and seriously injured four firefighters. Several residents remain missing and emergency responders anticipate the number of fatalities could grow.
The State of California, local governments, community based organizations and volunteers have taken extraordinary steps to respond to the Valley and Butte fires. Governor Brown declared a state of emergency as a result of the Butte Fire on September 11, 2015 and on September 13, 2015 for the Valley Fire. Collectively, approximately 9,500 firefighters were deployed to fight the fires, including members of the California National Guard. In addition, more than 100 law enforcement agencies and more than a dozen emergency managers from neighboring counties have been deployed to assist with the response. The California Department of Social Services is assisting with shelter operations and coordinating with local counties to identify long-term solutions for displaced residents.