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FEMA Chief Pleased with Wildfire Response

The Santa Ana winds have died down in Southern California, but wildfires still rage out of control.

David Paulison, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, has been surveying the damage and emergency response to the wildfires before meeting President Bush for his tour of the region.

Paulison says he would talk to the president about the differences in emergency response since Hurricane Katrina. The planning done since the storm, which devastated New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, has resulted in a much more organizes and prepared response.

Unlike in 2005, Paulison says, local communities did not have to wait until they were overwhelmed before the state to step in, and the federal government did not wait until the state was overwhelmed before it stepped in.

This time, the governments went in as partners, he says.

Still, Paulison says he expects there will be lessons to learn from the California wildfires, but he is extremely pleased with how the relief effort is going.

Paulison talks to Alex Chadwick about the situation on his way to meet President Bush at the airport in San Diego.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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