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Wildfire Recovery — It’s Not Just FEMA, Anymore

Release date: 
July 24, 2019
Release Number: 
DR-4407-CA NR 068

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018 is a day thousands of California residents will never forget. It’s the day three separate wildfires ignited in Butte, Los Angeles and Ventura counties. Less than a week later, President Trump signed a disaster declaration, providing for federal assistance to California for what became the most deadly fire in the state’s history.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) personnel were on the scene within hours of the outbreak, comforting and sheltering the thousands of families who had lost to the fires their houses and everything in them.

Nearly eight months later, FEMA Disaster Survivor Assistance (DSA) teams have moved on, responding to other disasters…other survivors. Meanwhile, FEMA – along with its state and federal partner-agencies – has turned its focus toward long-term recovery. Survivors have many resources available from government agencies and nonprofits to assist with unmet needs. Recovery professionals from the State of California and the federal government have joined forces through Interagency Recovery Coordination (IRC).

The Camp, the Hill and the Woolsey wildfires claimed 89 lives as they burned through about 400 square miles of forest and brushland – territory nearly the size of San Antonio, Texas.

The Camp Fire in Butte County alone destroyed more than 19,000 structures – including 14,000 homes. Nearly the entire Town of Paradise was burned to the ground.

In Butte County, the IRC is working with state, local, tribal and federal governments, congressional and state legislative offices, and the private sector.

FEMA’s primary partners include the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), along with the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (CalOES) are FEMA’s primary recovery partners.

More than two dozen other federal and state agencies, as well as numerous volunteer and nonprofit organizations, also are available for enhanced, specialized and technical long-term assistance in the recovery process.

These agencies and others, in addition to many private sector entities, are working with local governments and the people of Butte County to:

  • Return businesses, including agriculture, to a healthy state and develop new economic opportunities;
  • Restore and improve health and social service networks;
  • Rebuild and support affordable and accessible housing, including rural development;
  • Rebuild, restore and improve infrastructure systems;
  • Protect natural and cultural resources and historic properties; and
  • Help plan for stronger, safer, smarter and more resilient communities to help prevent future disasters.

For more about California wildfire recovery, visit


All FEMA disaster assistance will be provided without discrimination on the grounds of race, color, sex (including sexual harassment), religion, national origin, age, disability, limited English proficiency, economic status, or retaliation. If you believe your civil rights are being violated, call 800-621-3362 or 800-462-7585(TTY/TDD).

FEMA’s mission: Helping people before, during and after disasters.

Last Updated: 
July 24, 2019 - 16:20