Governor Jan Brewer today sent a letter to President Obama formally requesting a federal Major Disaster Declaration for the Yarnell Hill Fire, which claimed 19 lives and destroyed 109 homes in Yavapai County.
An assessment of the scope and severity of the fire damage was performed in recent days. Representatives of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), Arizona Division of Emergency Management (ADEM), Yavapai County and the American Red Cross Grand Canyon Chapter were present.
The damage assessment concluded that 109 homes were destroyed, two homes sustained major damage and 21 homes had minor damages. Governor Brewer is requesting the President issue a Major Disaster Declaration for the affected area, and couple this with access to the Individual Assistance Program. A declaration for Individual Assistance would aid local residents impacted by the fire by making available funds for housing assistance and “necessary expenses and serious needs” not covered by insurance.
“The Yarnell Hill Fire has taken so much from the people of Yavapai County and the State of Arizona,” said Governor Brewer. “We can never bring back the lives lost to this devastating fire, but a federal Major Disaster Declaration is one way we can help the citizens of Yarnell and Peeples Valley begin to pick up the pieces and put their communities back together.”
Federal disaster designations are assessed based upon summary estimates of local damages. Approval of the Governor’s request would bring to Yavapai County long-term federal recovery programs designed to help survivors and businesses recover uninsured losses.
Simultaneous to the request for a Major Disaster Declaration, Governor Brewer is seeking a Physical Disaster Declaration from the U.S. Small Business Administration. If granted, Yavapai County residents whose homes were impacted by the Yarnell Hill Fire would be eligible to apply for a loan totaling up to $200,000 in order to repair or replace damaged real estate. Renters would be eligible for up to a $40,000 loan to replace destroyed personal property. At this time, the State is not requesting aid for local businesses.
An Individual Assistance Service Center has been established at the Yarnell Community Center, 22302 Arizona 89. The Center is open daily until further notice from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and will provide resources, case management and information to area residents impacted by the Yarnell Hill Fire.