Gov. Jay Inslee was informed this evening that FEMA has denied the state's appeal for Individual Assistance following wildfires in Okanogan County and the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation. Last month FEMA rejected the state's initial application for federal assistance to individuals and homeowners impacted by the fires. FEMA Administrator W. Craig Fugate denied the appeal in a letter received this evening.
FEMA said that impact to individuals and homeowners "was not of the severity and magnitude to warrant the designation of Individual Assistance" under FEMA's emergency declaration. Last month FEMA did approve Inslee's request for public assistance that will help the county and tribal governments pay for repair of infrastructure damaged in the fires.
“It is unfortunate that FEMA did not see the merits of our case,” Inslee said. “The fires impacted low income communities that have very little housing available for families who suffered devastating losses when their homes and possessions burned. Nevertheless, the state will stay involved with the affected communities and do our best to help them recover.”
The governor will convene an Okanogan Recovery Task Force to explore every option for providing needed assistance. In addition, FEMA has organized a Disaster Housing Assessment Team to look more deeply at unmet housing needs.