Several governors have pushed President Joe Biden to declare a FEMA disaster in the western states for "extreme drought" conditions.
The governors' letter requests Biden to "declare a FEMA drought disaster in our states, allowing us to access additional federal resources."
They mention that their states are facing "extreme drought and catastrophic wildfires" and that they need "additional assistance" from the "federal government" to "protect America's family farmers, ranchers, and fishers."
According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, "the Dixie Fire in northern California has scorched hundreds of thousands of acres, making it the second-largest fire in the state's history. Fires in the western half of the contiguous states (including Colorado and Wyoming) have burned, on average, 30 square miles of total area every day since early June – an area approaching half the size of Washington, D.C."
So far, states including California, Nevada, Utah, Oregon, and Washington are experiencing "exceptional drought" levels — and there is no grade higher than exceptional— as a map from the U.S. Drought Monitor indicates.
According to the Washington Examiner, 3.9 million acres have been burned nationally since 2021.
On top of FEMA funds, the governors are also requesting funds from the American Rescue Plan.
"We encourage the White House to consider and work with Congressional leadership for emergency assistance, including the possibility of allowing states to utilize existing American Rescue Plan funds for drought- and fire-related needs."
The letter was signed by California Gov. Gavin Newsom, Utah Gov. Spencer J. Cox, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, Idaho Gov. Brad Little, Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee.
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