Ravaged by fires over the past four years, Sonoma County got a boost for future efforts to mitigate calamities Wednesday when President Joe Biden announced a $37 million FEMA grant to the county for use in wildfire prevention.
“It was a sense of relief just washing over me,” Lynda Hopkins, chair of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, said of Biden’s announcement. “Being in the midst of a historic drought, with extremely low moisture levels, knowing we’re walking into a really tough wildfire season this year — this was a shot in the arm. We’re exhausted. We’ve had so many bad fire years. We were really in need of some good news.”
The federal money, the first distribution from the Biden administration’s $1 billion Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities program, requires a 25% local match. Sonoma County has committed $13 million it had set aside from PG&E legal settlements, to bring the total wildfire package to $50 million, though it’s unlikely the money will have a direct impact in 2021.
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