Curtis, Neguse bill on wildfire recovery passes House

This week, Congressman John Curtis (R-UT) and Congressman Joe Neguse (D-CO) Co-Chairs and Founders of the Bipartisan Wildfire Caucus, announced that the House of Representatives passed their legislation to help ensure impacted communities have the resources they need to recover from devastating wildfires. The bipartisan Wildfire Recovery Act would increase flexibility in the federal cost share for Fire Management Assistance Grants (FMAG) to bring in additional resources for communities as they rebuild from wildfire damage.

“I am proud of the progress we have made in the bipartisan Wildfire Caucus to pass legislation that will provide flexibility to FEMA and move recovery funds to assist as soon as possible after a fire. The Wildfire Recovery Act allows relief funds to flow more quickly to communities across the West and in Utah when they are most needed after a disaster.” said Congressman Curtis. 

“Coloradans have been impacted by multiple natural disasters in recent years, from the devastating wildfire season in 2020 to the record-breaking Marshall Fire just this past year. For them and for all the communities across this country impacted by wildfires, floods, and more, we must ensure full and adequate federal support for recovery,” said Congressman Joe Neguse. “The Wildfire Recovery Act helps to support state and local governments in cases of disaster, covering the costs of critical services needed for protection and recovery. The strong bipartisan support for this bill – demonstrated by the House vote today – gives me hope that Colorado families and communities will never again have to navigate recovery alone.”

FMAG grants are authorized by FEMA to reimburse the costs of fighting a fire. The grants allow the state to submit receipts for reimbursement of 75 percent of eligible costs to fight the fires, which includes field camp expenses, equipment use and repair, mobilization, and other materials and supplies. Unlike some other FEMA programs related to disasters that provide at least 75% of the total costs, there is no current flexibility for the FMAG program cost share. The Wildfire Recovery Act grants flexibility to the program, allowing the Federal cost-share to be raised above 75% when the wildfire reaches a qualifying threshold, to bring more resources to communities in need.