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Oregon Gov to preserve funding for wildfire response

Portland, Sep 15 (IANS) | Publish Date: 9/15/2020 1:06:53 PM IST

Oregon Governor Kate Brown said that she will veto several line-item appropriations in order to preserve funding for the state’s ongoing emergency wildfire response efforts and maintain a balanced budget. Combined, the vetoes will preserve over $65 million, reports Xinhua news agency. In order to expedite an immediate relief package by the Legislature’s Emergency Board, Brown on Monday night also requested that legislators reserve at least $150 million in the state’s emergency fund for upcoming requests relating to the raging wildfires.

According to Brown, Oregon faces several unprecedented challenges simultaneously, such as the Covid-19 pandemic, structural racism, widespread unemployment, budget shortfall, and “now the worst wildfire season in our lifetimes”. So far, the wildfires have scorched over 1 million acres of land across the state, killed 10 people, while 22 others were reported missing, according to the Oregon Office of Emergency Management.

It added that firefighters in the state were struggling to contain more than 30 active wildfires currently. Besides Oregon, massive wildfires were also raging in California, Washington, Colorado, Idaho and Utah. Authorities in the worst-hit state of California, where 25 people have died since August 15, report that firefighters are working to contain 29 major wildfires across the state.

 

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