Mesa, AZ -- Disaster aid to Arizona in the wake of the massive Rodeo-Chediski fire has topped $26 million, state and federal officials said today.
President Bush declared the Rodeo-Chediski fire a major disaster on June 25. The fire burned 468,000 acres and destroyed more than 450 houses in Navajo, Apache, Coconino and Gila counties and the Fort Apache Indian Reservation.
The biggest chunk of aid is $20 million in federal Fire Management Assistance declarations. FEMA Fire Management Assistance is made available to state and local governments, including Indian tribes, to reimburse costs of fire management and suppression. FEMA will pay 75 percent of eligible costs incurred by state and local governments in fighting the wildfires.
The U.S. Department of Labor issued a $2.3 million National Emergency Grant to the Arizona Department of Commerce to train and hire displaced workers to clean up fire-damaged public lands. The state is working with local organizations to set up training programs and work assignments.
Other assistance figures, as of August 19:
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has approved $2,692,400 in disaster loans for homeowners, renters and businesses to repair and replace damaged property.
$617,929 has been approved for cleanup and debris removal in Navajo County under FEMA's Public Assistance Program. FEMA's 75 percent share is $463,446, with the remainder to be provided by state and local governments, who will supervise the work.
Disaster housing grants totaling $314,637 have been awarded for temporary housing needs, including minor home repairs.
Arizona officials have approved $291,756 in the Individual and Family Grant Program for disaster-related serious needs and necessary expenses.
Arizona's Department of Economic Security has disbursed $105,074 in disaster unemployment assistance to 486 people who lost income because of the disaster.
To date, 8,204 Arizonans have registered for assistance through FEMA's toll-free registration line. Help Centers have seen 5,720 people seeking information about disaster aid, including answers to questions about their applications for assistance.
FEMA's Mitigation Division is responding to community requests for information to help reduce the chance of damage from future disasters, and has spoken to 1,414 residents in help centers and 1,600 at public meetings. Thousands more are receiving mitigation information from the Division's participation in local cable TV programs promoting fire-wise vegetation management and building techniques.
The FEMA Helpline has received 2,728 calls seeking information and answers to questions about applications for assistance.
Long Term Recovery Committee - This effort brings together community leaders and representatives of voluntary agency to insure the availability of talent and resources for those affected by the disaster who have unmet needs. If official avenues for assistance are exhausted or inappropriate, the Long Term Recovery Committee coordinates a response and makes referrals for emergency needs, special needs or unmet needs of persons needing additional assistance.