A member of a strike team emerges from burnt area on Japatul Lyons Valley Road after a 12-hour shift in September. Photo by Chris Stone

The U.S. Department of Labor Monday announced the award of a grant of up to $25 million to create jobs addressing debris cleanup and delivery of humanitarian aid to those affected by last year’s wildfires across the state, including residents in the San Diego area.

As part of the allocation to the California Employment Development Department, an initial award of $8,364,268 will create disaster relief employment for 10 counties — Fresno, Los Angeles, Madera, Mendocino, Napa, San Bernardino, San Diego, Shasta, Siskiyou and Sonoma, according to the federal agency.

Since early September, more than 8,600 blazes have burned across the state, charring more than 4.1 million acres.

In eastern San Diego County, the Valley Fire blackened 16,390 acres, destroyed 30 homes and 31 outbuildings, damaged 11 other structures, and left three firefighters injured after erupting in Japatul Valley on Sept. 5.

Supported by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014, National Dislocated Worker Grants temporarily expand the service capacity of dislocated-worker training and employment programs at the state and local levels by providing funding assistance in response to large, unexpected economic events that cause significant job losses, according to the federal labor department.

— City News Service