To date, $27 million in total federal assistance has made a large impact on helping survivors of the Butte and Valley wildfires repair and rebuild. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES), and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) know it takes a whole community effort to recover.
When personal resources, insurance, and government loans and grants are not sufficient to meet the needs of disaster survivors, local long-term recovery groups (LTRG) are formed to provide safety nets.
LTRGs are coordinated with support from Cal OES and FEMA to help individuals, families, and their communities recover. These groups, which are comprised of representatives from local, state, non-profit, and faith-based organizations, help identify the unmet needs of individuals and families.
“Calaveras Recovers” and “Team Lake County” have established themselves as the LTRGs in their respective counties. Each team consists of organizations that can bring experience, money, manpower, and material to assist with recovery needs. They have executive boards, mission statements, by-laws and subcommittees. Fiduciary sponsors participate to ensure monetary donations are properly managed.
The LTRGs organize community volunteers; provide technical assistance to help nonprofit organizations access whole community resources; and assist in determining the most effective and efficient recovery strategies.
“These LTRGs bring together a wealth of local knowledge, from what people are lacking, to who can provide the help. They truly are a safety net for disaster survivors,” said Tim Scranton, FEMA’s federal coordinating officer for the fires in Calaveras and Lake Counties.
“The services and information provided by LTRGs is another valuable resource to help wildfire survivors recover,” said Charles Rabamad, California’s deputy state coordinating officer for the wildfires.
Backing and guiding the LTRGs are the Voluntary Agency Liaisons (VAL). VALs, consisting of state and FEMA representatives, serve as a source of knowledge for LTRGs based on years of providing disaster recovery efforts and addressing unmet needs.
An LTRG team that is well integrated with local emergency management and is following best practices can have a dramatic positive impact on community recovery. It can become an ongoing resource to address unmet survivor needs, support community efforts to recover, and increase awareness of hazard mitigation measures.
Calaveras Recovers has established a website,
Team Lake County has created a public Facebook page, www.facebook.com/teamlakecounty, which enables conversation and comments from viewers. Facebook membership is not required. A website is available at
For more information on California’s wildfire recovery, visit: caloes.ca.gov or fema.gov/disaster/4240 and follow us on Twitter @femaregion9 and @Cal_OES and on Facebook at facebook.com/FEMA and facebook.com/CaliforniaOES.
Official information blog for the Lake County Office of Emergency Services