U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan said the House will take up supplemental disaster funding to help areas hit by hurricanes and wildfires this week.
“We think it’s critical that we pass this legislation this week to give the people in California the support that they need to fight these fires, to help the victims, and also to help the communities still recovering and dealing with humanitarian problems with the hurricanes,” Ryan said at a news briefing on Wednesday..
Northern California’s wine country has killed 17 people, left about 150 missing and destroyed 1,500 homes, wineries, and other structures, state fire officials said on Tuesday.
In Napa County, the dead included 100-year-old Charles Rippey and his wife, Sarah,, 98, according to the county sheriff’s office, while in Southern California, the so-called Canyon Fire 2 has spread to 7,500 acres (3,035 hectares) in Orange County, destroying 14 structures and damaging 22, fire spokesman Thanh Nguyen said.
The U.S. House of Representatives’ Appropriations Committee approved later that same Tuesday night $36.5 billion in emergency funding for relief and recovery from the wildfires and recent hurricane, according to a spokeswoman for the committee’s chairman.
This bill includes $7 billion more funding than the White House had given last week, with nearly $6 billion more for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) than the administration’s request.
The committee’s bill also included $576.6 million for wildfire efforts, $16 billion for the National Flood Insurance program, and a provision enabling low-income Puerto Ricans to receive emergency nutrition assistance, said Jennifer Hing, spokeswoman for Representative Rodney Frelinghuysen, the committee chairman.
President Donald Trump has also asked Congress to approve a $4.9 billion government loan to help Puerto Rico pay some of its bills in the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
It was not immediately clear when the bill would move to the floor to be voted on by the entire House.
Although wildfires are fairly uncommon in the state of Illinois, especially in the Chicagoland area, business and residential building fires are still a threat.
In 2016, U.S. news media reported 77 home fire fatalities in the state. This year, there have 79 home fire fatalities reported, and this is not even counting fires not broadcasted by the news.
It always helps to have good homeowners insurance in these instances, especially one with Dwelling Coverage, Personal Property Coverage, Other Structure Coverage and Liability Coverage.