Gov. Jay Inslee today announced he was notified that the state’s request for Individual Assistance through a Major Disaster Declaration has been denied, and that he is appealing the decision. Inslee requested the Individual Assistance last week to provide federal financial help to homeowners hurt by the Central Washington fires.
“Hundreds of individuals and families were dealt a significant blow by the state’s worst wildfire,” Inslee said. “These people are starting over. They need help with housing. They need help with basic necessities. The state is doing everything it can to ensure these families get the assistance they need to recover from the devastating fires, including federal assistance.”
The assessed value of the destroyed properties in Okanogan County alone is estimated at more than $28 million. Combined, these fires have destroyed more than 300 homes.
The state has 30 days to file an appeal. During that time, teams from the state’s Emergency Management Department will return to Central Washington to gather additional data to support the state’s request.
Inslee’s Major Disaster Declaration request included requests for Individual Assistance as well as Public Assistance. Yesterday, the federal administration approved Inslee’s request for Public Assistance for Okanogan County and the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation. The approval means federal reimbursement will be available for Okanogan County and the confederated Colville tribes for 75 percent of the costs of eligible expenses related to disaster-damaged facilities such as roads, bridges, and public utilities. Preliminary estimates show the fires caused approximately $35 million in infrastructure damages.
Members of the state's congressional delegation have also indicated their support for the state's appeal for individual disaster assistance.