Feds deny Ariz. appeal of Yarnell disaster denial - New York News

Feds deny Ariz. appeal of Yarnell disaster denial

Updated:

By BOB CHRISTIE
Associated Press

PHOENIX (AP) - The Federal Emergency Management Agency has again denied Gov. Jan Brewer's request for a disaster declaration because of the Yarnell Hill fire.

FEMA spokesman John Hamill confirmed Friday that Brewer's appeal had been denied.

The Small Business Administration says it will now begin offering low interest loans to homeowners and businesses affected by the fire. The loans could not be offered while the appeal was pending.

The fire that started on June 28 killed 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots on June 30 as it barreled toward Yarnell. The fire burned 8,400 acres and more than 100 homes before it was controlled on July 12.

FEMA has repeatedly said the damage to uninsured private homes was not so severe that state, local and volunteer agencies couldn't handle the problems.

Statement from Governor Jan Brewer

"To say that I'm tremendously disappointed with the decision of President Obama's administration to again deny Arizona's request for a federal disaster declaration would be an understatement. A declaration was reasonable and justified for the nation's deadliest fire in 80 years.  Let's hope no future disaster occurs in Arizona that could have been mitigated by the use of a Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) team.

"There is, however, some good news. SBA's support through the issuance of loans is much needed and will be helpful to residents and businesses as they continue to pick up and put back together the pieces after this tragedy. We appreciate the assistance they will provide."

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press modified.

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