Sheriff declares a State of Emergency

Madera County Sheriff Tyson Pogue, with the vote of the Madera County Board of Supervisors declared a State of Emergency because of the River Fire.


The fire is burning on the Madera and Mariposa County Line off Road 800 in an area known as Bailey Flats between Raymond and Ahwahnee.


Pogue initially proclaimed a local emergency on Monday and the Supervisors ratified a resolution to declare a local state of emergency.


“County Staff and Sheriff’s Deputies are conducting damage assessments to see what homes or structures have been burned, what county roadways or other infrastructure has been damaged as we speak,” Pogue said before Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors’ meeting. “There are three bridges in the county that will need to be assessed for damage.


“The Sheriff’s Office have been receiving numerous calls from people requesting to go in to retrieve items or feed/water animals. We are working with Cal Fire to make those arrangements and conduct those safely and as efficiently as possible.”


As of Wednesday, about 95 homes are under evacuation order with 25 more under a warning.


“We continue to proactively patrol evacuated areas to safeguard the property of those evacuated, as well as closely monitor this situation,” Pogue said. “The extreme heat and winds has proven to be challenging for not only fire personnel, but those working to support those efforts.


“This fire has strained our local resources and necessitate a declaration of a local emergency in order to maintain our standard level of public protection to the county. By declaring a local state of emergency we are formally requesting help from state and federal officials.”


By declaring a State of Emergency, its a way of saying ‘the magnitude of the current event is such that it overwhelms the county’s resources to appropriately respond while maintaining our current level of essential services to the public.’


By declaring an emergency, it helps the county in their ability to react and bring the disaster to a close more quickly. This means lives and properties can be saved.


It helps the county to gain access to state and federal resources for need like fire equipment, personnel and shelter.


By declaring a state of emergency, it also lessons the impact the emergency has on people’s daily lives.


• The one-week waiting period for unemployment benefits is waived for anyone directly affected by the fires.


• Several DMV fees are waived such as late fees, title transfers, driver licenses, identification cards, and other vital documents.


• Vital record replacement fees are also waived.


• The California Disaster Assistance Act releases state and federal funds to reimburse costs of these operations to the county during declared emergencies.


• Bottom line is, the added resources and streamlined regulations keep Madera County safer and enables our community to recover from disaster faster.