President approves some wildfire relief

— The Chronicle

Part of the state’s request for a major declaration for this summer’s wildfires has been approved by President Barack Obama.

Gov. Jay Inslee said public assistance has been approved in some wildfire areas. He is awaiting a decision on individual assistance.

The president’s declaration makes available the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s public assistance program for infrastructure damage to eight counties and the Colville Confederated Tribes. The program helps offset costs the counties and state agencies incurred to provide emergency protective measures, and to repair and replace some disaster-damaged facilities.

Jurisdictions qualifying for FEMA public assistance are Chelan, Ferry, Lincoln, Okanogan, Pend Oreille, Stevens, Whatcom and Yakima counties, and the tribe. FEMA assistance was denied for Asotin, Columbia, Douglas and Garfield counties, and the Kalispel, Spokane and Yakama tribes.

“I’m thankful to the president and his team for this assistance and support,” Inslee said. “Our state has faced more than our fair share of catastrophic disasters over the last year and they’ve taken a significant toll both emotionally and financially. This year alone, our state has spent more than $100 million just in firefighting costs. This financial assistance will help our state as we recover from these devastating events.”

FEMA is still considering Inslee’s request for its individual assistance program to help families and businesses that suffered losses. Statewide, the fires destroyed 146 homes and damaged another 476. Nearly two-thirds were uninsured or underinsured, Inslee said.


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