Monterey County

California congressional leaders visit Soberanes and Chimney fires

California lawmakers visit sites of Monterey Co. fires

MONTEREY COUNTY, Calif. - California congressional leaders are taking a look at the damage from the Soberanes and the Chimney fires in Monterey County.

Representatives Sam Farr and Loretta Sanchez said they'll be going to Congress next month in hopes of getting federal help for the state.

The Soberanes Fire now covers more 91,000 acres and down south, the Chimney Fire is devouring about 45,000 acres between Monterey and San Luis Obispo counties.

Their destruction is capturing both Farr and Sanchez's attention.

"Some of the discussions here are how do we apply that? How do we get out of this fire where it's been burnt and leave the community with the ability to stabilize and rebuild?" Farr said.

"It's the middle of tourism season here and all of a sudden there is no clients and so how we help them to stay afloat so that they can continue to do business and not go under, those are also issues that we look at," Sanchez said.

During Friday's fire briefing at Toro Park in Salinas, both made it clear they'll be working together to push the federal government for more help in Monterey County. A state emergency has already been issued, making money from Sacramento available.

But because a national emergency hasn't been declared in the state of California, federal aid is limited.

Next month, Farr and Sanchez head back to Congress where they plan on asking for grants and will talk about what needs to change in future fire fights - especially since California hasn't even hit its peak in fire season.

"We outta try to figure out how do we make sure that countries can remain stable after a war or a community or how a neighborhood can remain stable after a fire has gone through," Farr said.

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