Flames from a wildfire burn in Napa, California, 9 October 2017. Photo: Rich Pedroncelli / AP Photo

SAN FRANCISCO, 3 November 2017 (Associated Press) – California Gov. Jerry Brown and lawmakers asked the U.S. government Friday for $7.4 billion to help rebuild after a cluster of fires tore through the heart of wine country, killing more than 40 people and leaving thousands without housing.

In a letter to the White House, Brown joined California's U.S. senators and 39 members of its congressional delegation to urge President Donald Trump and Congress to quickly adopt a disaster-related appropriations measure to support the state's recovery.

Brown said the funding would go toward cleanup and programs to support housing, transportation, agriculture, environmental protection and other services for those affected by the fires.

A series of blazes that started in Northern California the night of Oct. 8 killed at least 43 people and destroyed about 8,900 homes and other buildings. At the peak, thousands of firefighters battled 21 blazes that burned simultaneously.

Officials have not yet assessed all the damage and effects of the fires, but the governor's office and the affected counties determined that $7.4 billion in federal funding is needed to help California recover, the letter says.

The wildfires significantly damaged farmland, rangeland and watersheds, and more than a third of the funding requested, $3.1 billion, would go toward helping agricultural industries bounce back, including affected wineries, California officials said.

"The full economic impact to the agricultural, tourism, hospitality, and wine industries is still not known," the letter says. "Nine California wineries were destroyed and 21 were damaged in the nation's most prominent winemaking region." [more]

California asks US for $7.4 billion for wildfire rebuilding

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