WASHINGTON, D.C. – Eastern Washington Congressman Dan Newhouse (WA-04) and Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) have urged President Joe Biden to approve a Major Disaster Declaration for the Colville Confederated Tribes (CCT).If approved, Public Assistance would be made available to remove debris, rebuild roads and bridges, and address recovery efforts on the Colville Indian Reservation in the wake of extreme wildfires earlier this year.
“The Colville Indian Reservation sustained damage from five uncontrolled fires that burned between July and September. The Chuweah Creek and Summit Trail Fires grew quickly and merged with smaller fires. When they were finally contained, another storm system passed through the region and ignited additional blaze on Reservation lands,” the lawmakers wrote.They continued, “Despite full mutual aid response from surrounding fire districts, the CCT lost major power and communications infrastructure, primary homes, outbuildings and vehicles and equipment. Now, much of the Reservation is at risk of flooding and erosion.”
They concluded, “The damage sustained is beyond the capacity of the CCT to address on its own. [We] request that the CCT’s request for a Major Disaster Declaration and aid from Public Assistance Programs receive full and fair consideration.”
Approval of a Major Disaster Declaration would allow funds from the Public Assistance Program to be used for debris removal, emergency protective measures, roads and bridges, water control facilities, public buildings and contents, public utilities, as well as parks, recreational and other facilities.