The USDA ‘s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is offering its assistance in the wildfire recovery efforts underway in multiple areas of California. While firefighters are making significant headway in containing the various fires, there are still some farmers who are dealing with losses from last year’s devastating wildfires.
“It’s a situation where I want to be there and help our state recover and help the people that are undergoing significant losses,” said NRCS State Conservationist Carlos Suarez. “My prayers go out to those people who have lost not only property but lost their lives, as well as those on the front lines.”
Suarez was one of the 17 staff members who were part of a technical team that NRCS sent to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico to assist with the aftermath of Hurricane Irma and Maria. After several months of working with Puerto Rican authorities on cleaning up the devastation left by the hurricanes, Suarez is back in California with significant experience in the application process for the Farm Service Agency’s Wildfires and Hurricanes Indemnity Program.
“The experience in Puerto Rico has prepared me well on understanding the requirements of this program…that is assisting producers to get back on their feet and replace the losses they suffered,” Suarez noted.
NRCS will not be alone in the wildfire recovery with many groups combining their efforts to provide the most beneficial assistance possible. NRCS already has a long history of working closely with other agencies such as the U.S. Forest Service, California Department of Food and Agriculture, CalFire, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The largest wildfire in California’s history, the Mendocino Complex Fire, continues to burn and has now surpassed 400,000 acres and is about 74 percent contained as of August 21. The fire has already destroyed nearly 300 structures, with another 1,000 still threatened. Total containment is not expected until September 1.