PASADENA, Calif. -- The major disaster declaration issued for the Southern California wildfires on Oct. 24, 2007, has been expanded to include flooding, mud flows, and debris flows directly related to the wildfires.
The amendment to the presidential declaration means that only those areas within the previously designated counties specifically determined by FEMA to be damaged or adversely affected as a direct result of the compromised watershed conditions and fire-generated debris caused by the wildfires will be considered eligible for assistance on a case-by-case basis.
"The expansion of the disaster declaration is an important step in helping Southern California's residents and local governments within burn-affected areas," said Mike Hall, FEMA's federal coordinating officer. "We are focusing the attention of FEMA and partner agencies to insure that all eligible individuals, families and businesses receive maximum assistance."
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger requested the amendment in a letter to President Bush on Dec. 20, citing the probability of additional damage to affected communities in the event of a heavy rainfall.
Homeowners, renters and business owners whose properties are damaged or may incur damages as a direct result of mud flow, debris flow and flooding within the burn areas are eligible for federal and state assistance. Call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 1-800-462-7585 between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday.
Besides assisting individuals, the federal government will provide funding to government agencies and eligible non-profit organizations for such activities as:
- Removal of fire-related debris moved by storms into public roads and flood control facilities;
- Emergency response to storm disruptions near wildfire damaged areas; and
- Repair to public facilities with storm damage related to wildfire effects.
FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.