Oklahoma Wildfire Recovery Continues
Oklahomans are reminded that many areas of the state remain very dry and wildfire conditions may return. Between November and April, fires left more than 550,000 acres scorched and more than 800 homes damaged.
The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have worked to deliver more than $16 million in aid to individuals and governmental entities impacted by the state’s historic outbreak of wildfires.
Since November, wildfires have inundated Oklahoma, leaving 869 homes damaged -- 300 of those destroyed. Nearly 2,800 fires have left more than 550,000 acres scorched across the state.
In January, Pres. George Bush declared a major disaster existed in the State of Oklahoma and ordered federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area struck by the extreme wildfire threat that began Dec. 1, 2005. Since then, OEM and FEMA have processed more than 700 applications for Public Assistance from the state and local departments and agencies that assisted in the wildfire response. Nearly $7.9 million has been approved to cover these jurisdictions’ emergency protective measures to include overtime paid to first responders, depreciation on, repairs to and fuel for responder equipment.
Additionally, OEM and FEMA have worked to deliver nearly $8.2 million in federal funding to Oklahoma residents whose homes and businesses were damaged by the fires in the counties covered by the President’s declaration for Individual Assistance. The 26 counties declared for Individual Assistance are: Bryan, Canadian, Carter, Choctaw, Cotton, Creek, Garvin, Hughes, Lincoln, Logan, Mayes, McIntosh, Murray, Muskogee, Okfuskee, Oklahoma, Okmulgee, Osage, Payne, Pittsburg, Pontotoc, Pottawatomie, Seminole, Stephens, Tulsa and Wagoner.
Nearly $8.2 million has been approved under the Individual Assistance program. Individual Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster. Nearly three dozen applicants have received manufactured homes under the temporary housing program. The majority of Individual Assistance was in the form of Small Business Administration loans totaling $6 million. Another $1.2 million was paid in housing assistance.