Vice President Kamala Harris announces $600 million for California wildfire recovery

Vice President Kamala Harris, pictured at the United States Capitol in Washington, DC on January 6, will deliver a speech this afternoon in California on federal efforts to prevent wildfires. Pool photo by Greg Nash/UPI | License picture

January 21 (UPI) — Vice President Kamala Harris and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack visited a fire station in San Bernardino, Calif., on Friday, announcing that the US government is committing $600 million to fight wildfires .

The federal funds come after years of record-breaking wildfires that have scorched millions of acres in California.

“We are at our best when local, state and federal governments work together, unhindered by politics or partisanship,” Harris said. “The people on the ground, who do this work every day, you inspire us all.”

She also touted funds set aside for wildfire prevention under the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill. It allocates nearly $3.3 billion to forest fire prevention over five years.

Nearly 60% of California’s forests are national forests, with the Infrastructure Act providing billions for wildfire prevention to protect them.

The Biden administration this week announced a comprehensive response to what it called a worsening wildfire crisis. This plan includes a sharp increase in the use of prescribed burning in forests to reduce the fuels that fuel wildfires.

Harris and Vilsack received a wildfire prevention and mitigation briefing at the Del Rosa Forest Service Firehouse in San Bernardino on Friday afternoon, before delivering remarks.

Biden’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure investment bill was backed by 19 Senate Republicans. Thirteen House Republicans also joined Democrats in passing the bill.

In addition to funds for the prevention of forest fires, it includes 550 billion dollars for transport, broadband and utilities.

This includes $110 billion for roads, bridges and similar projects, $66 billion for freight and passenger rail, and $39 billion for mass transit systems.

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