Washington, D.C. – The California Fires Coordination Group (CFCG), formed by President Bush immediately following the outbreak of the California wildfires that scorched over 750,000 acres and destroyed over 3,600 homes in October of 2003, has released its report on the recovery efforts from these devastating wildfires that were among the largest fire incidents in American history. The interagency coordination group, comprised of top government officials tasked with coordinating the federal government’s portion of the recovery operation, was chaired by Michael D. Brown, Undersecretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response.
With the scope and magnitude of the fires, as well as the extensive acreage of federal lands involved, a unique level of coordination was necessary to expedite aid to the affected communities.
The CFCG report was presented to Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge prior to posting on http://www.fema.gov/pdf/library/draft_cfcg_report_0204.pdf.
The CFCG report discusses the two-tiered CFCG and the joint Disaster Field Office (DFO)/Multi-Agency Support Group (MASG) structure, a team of federal, state, local governmental and private organizations, who collectively provided aid to affected communities. This aid was made available efficiently and expeditiously by promoting continuous dialogue among key stakeholders, allowing them to coordinate over $481 million in complementary federal assistance programs, while minimizing duplication efforts.
The CFCG helped coordinate activities among those agencies involved, which allowed for greater efficiency and use of resources. The meetings allowed the federal government to determine the extent of the damage from the wildfires so we could effectively coordinate our resources in order to assist the residents of California in their recovery. FEMA worked with their federal partners at the Small Business Administration to ensure victims were receiving federal grants or loans for home repairs needed as a result of this disaster.