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MEDFORD, Ore. (AP) — Sen. Ron Wyden is proposing legislation for the federal government to pay for the hotel stays of people fleeing their homes because of wildfire smoke.

The Mail Tribune reports the Democratic U.S. senator’s bill would open up an existing Federal Emergency Management Agency program, which covers temporary lodging for people who can’t immediately return home following a disaster, to include smoke as an eligible reason for lodging assistance.

Wyden says he considers wildfire smoke as a public health emergency. He says the smoke in Oregon and other parts of the West is creating “clean air refugees.”

Wyden says some details for the Clean Air Refugee Assistance Act still need to be worked out. A cost estimate has not been figured yet.


Information from: Mail Tribune,