Northern California Wildfires Devastate Homes And Locals; Bill For Relief Approved

California’s wildfires have decimated much of their wine country in the north, killing 15, leaving about 150 missing and destroying around 1,500 homes, wineries, and other structures, according to a report by state fire officials this week.

The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office added that 11 of the fatalities were in its jurisdiction, where 155 people were still missing.

Although upon further updated by the office, 45 others had been found, but some of those that have gone unaccounted for may be due to confusions with the surrounding evacuations.

Steve Crawford, a CAL FIRE operations chief had described in an afternoon briefing of how crews took advantage of cooler temperatures, lower winds and coastal fog this Tuesday, in order to make headway against the fires.

Crawford, however, cautioned that homes, wineries and other structures remained at risk. “We need to jump on it and take advantage of this lull before any other wind jumps up,” said Crawford “There’s a lot of devastation out there, people running around who just lost everything.”

The U.S. House of Representatives’ Appropriations Committee approved later that 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.