California Wildfires Burn Over 1.3 Million Acres as Biden Approves Disaster Declaration

President Joe Biden has approved a disaster declaration for California in response to active wildfires which have burned more than 1.3 million acres across the state.

The White House said in a statement on Tuesday that Biden "declared that a major disaster exists in the State of California and ordered Federal aid to supplement State, tribal, and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by wildfires beginning on July 14, 2021, and continuing."

"The President's action makes Federal funding available to affected individuals in the counties of Lassen, Nevada, Placer, and Plumas," the statement continued.

According to the statement, federal assistance can be used to help homeowners and business owners repair damages caused by the fire. "Federal funding also is available to state, tribal, and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency protective measures," the statement added.

The announcement by the White House comes just a day after California Governor Gavin Newsom requested that Biden issue a disaster declaration in response to the ongoing wildfires.

"We are deploying every available tool we have to keep communities safe as California battles these catastrophic wildfires driven by climate change impacts," Newsom said in a statement on Monday. "Even while the fires continue to burn, we are working to put assistance programs in place for impacted individuals to support their recovery from these devastating fires."

According to data from the National Interagency Fire Center, there are currently 11 active wildfires across California, which have burned a total of 1,332,025 acres.

The Dixie Fire is currently the largest active fire in California, as it has burned over 733,000 acres and is currently 43 percent contained. Since starting on July 13, the Dixie Fire has continued to grow and is currently the second-largest wildfire in California history.

In addition to the Dixie Fire, the McFarland Fire, the Monument Fire and the Caldor Fire have all burned over 100,000 acres.

While numerous wildfires are currently burning in parts of northern California, officials in Los Angeles recently encouraged residents to prepare for wildfire season in southern California, which usually spans from October to December.

During a press conference earlier this week, Los Angeles Fire Chief Ralph Terrazas said that wildfires in the state are on pace to surpass the record set in 2020, when over 4 million acres burned.

In response to Biden issuing the disaster declaration, Newsom said in a statement that "California is grateful for President Biden's swift approval of our request and the ongoing work of our heroic firefighters and emergency responders to protect communities across Northern California."

"This declaration makes vital resources available as we continue to work in lockstep with local, state and federal partners to meet the challenge of these catastrophic wildfires and support communities in recovery," Newsom continued.

Newsweek was directed to Newsom's statement on Tuesday after reaching out to his office for comment.

Dixie Fire
President Joe Biden issued a disaster declaration on Tuesday, August 24, 2021 in response to the ongoing wildfires in California. Above, the Dixie Fire pushes through the Genesee Valley on August 21, 2021 in Genesee, California. Allison Dinner/Getty