Congressman Doug LaMalfa issued the following statement after a House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing examining the adequacy of FEMA’s individual and public assistance programs when responding to, and recovering from, the devastation of wildfires.
Witness testimony was given by experts in emergency management, wildfire suppression, and federal disaster response and recovery programs. Among them was Casey Hatcher, the Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for Butte County. Hatcher has served in the County’s Emergency Operation Center through many activations, including the 2017 Oroville Dam Spillway Incident, the Wall, Ponderosa and La Porte/Cherokee fires in 2017, the 2018 Camp Fire, the 2020 North Complex Fire, and the 2021 Dixie Fire. Hatcher works closely with the California Office of Emergency Services and FEMA in service to Butte County residents.
“Northern California has seen too many major disasters over that last few years and we are struggling to meet the needs of families,” said LaMalfa. “FEMA can provide short term solutions, but that doesn’t solve our ongoing housing shortages and lack of forestry management over decades that worsened what used to be smaller, less devastating fires into full disasters with major loss of life and property. Changes must happen on the federal level, not just with forestry but in how we recover from disasters. I’m glad Butte County’s representative, Ms. Hatcher, could provide real world experience to help inform my colleagues of the challenges Northern California and rural America faces with disasters.”
Hatcher said, “It was an honor to testify before the Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management about Butte County’s experience with FEMA assistance after the 2018 Camp Fire and 2020 North Complex Fire. I’m thankful to Congressman LaMalfa for recommending me as a witness, and I appreciate his ongoing advocacy for our local communities that have been devastated by recent wildfires. I was encouraged by the Subcommittee’s questions and discussions because there seems to be an appetite to make changes so FEMA can better serve the unique needs of wildfire disasters.”
Watch the entire hearing at: youtu.be/LgTikLvNAxo?t=0
Watch LaMalfa and Casey Hatcher #1 at: youtube.com/watch?v=LgTikLvNAxo&t=4163s
Watch LaMalfa and Casey Hatcher #2 at: youtube.com/watch?v=LgTikLvNAxo&t=4749s