Garcia urges Trump for second major disaster declaration

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A month after calling for support on a major disaster declaration for California wildfires, Rep. Mike Garcia, R-Santa Clarita, said Wednesday he is once again urging President Donald Trump to issue another declaration — this time for the Bobcat Fire. 

The fire, which started Sept. 6 and is now just more than 60% contained as of Tuesday, has burned more than 114,000 acres in the Azusa area and the Angeles National Forest, prompting thousands to evacuate as about 100 homes have been destroyed and more than two dozen damaged.

Smoke from the active fire, which threatened high voltage power transmission lines and other major communications infrastructure, resulted in days-long unhealthy air quality in and around the Santa Clarita Valley. Coupled with smoke from other fires in the region, COVID-19 testing facilities were temporarily shut down. 

Smoke from the Bobcat fire is visible cresting over the mountains surrounding the Santa Clarita Valley Sunday afternoon. September 20, 2020. Bobby Block / The Signal.

“The fire is still active and affecting residents of California’s 25th District,” Garcia said in a letter he addressed to Trump Tuesday. “Unfortunately, the Bobcat Fire is part of the unprecedented fire season in California continuing the strain on our resources and firefighting capabilities.”

In his letter, Garcia asked for the president’s “full consideration” of the state’s major disaster declaration for ongoing wildfires. 

“Our local and state governments continue to fight for the needed resources to fight the fires burning and put out new fires,” he said. “While California is instituting all possible actions at its disposal to combat this natural disaster, the size and scope of what our state faces demands assistance, coordination and additional federal support.” 

Tuesday’s call marks the second time the congressman reached out to the president regarding wildfires. In late August he called for the declaration for wildfires that included the Lake Fire, which also burned thousands of acres within the 25th District. One day later, Trump issued the declaration. 

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