U.S. Oregon governor to preserve funding for wildfire response

?Climate change is increasing the vulnerability of forests to wildfires ?

Governor Kate Brown of the U.S. state of Oregon on Monday said she will veto several line-item appropriations in order to preserve funding for the state’s ongoing emergency wildfire response efforts and maintain a balanced budget.

Combined, the vetoes will preserve over 65 million U.S. dollars. In order to expedite an immediate relief package by the Legislature’s Emergency Board, Brown also requested that legislators reserve at least 150 million U.S. dollars in the state’s emergency fund for upcoming requests relating to the wildfires.

According to Brown, Oregon faces several unprecedented challenges simultaneously, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, structural racism, widespread unemployment, budget shortfall, and “now the worst wildfire season in our lifetimes.”

So far, over 1 million acres have burned across Oregon, which has reported at least eight deaths from the wildfires and another 22 missing as of Monday, according to the Oregon Office of Emergency Management.

Oregon State Police have opened the first-ever mobile morgue in response to historic wildfires that are expected to result in dozens of deaths, a report by the OregonLive said.

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