Governor Mary Fallin today announced the appeal for disaster aid for Cleveland County has been approved by the federal government, making individual assistance available to residents and business owners affected by this summer's wildfires.
Oklahoma and Payne counties again were denied federal assistance.
"I am pleased the federal government has accepted our appeal and finally decided to provide help to Cleveland County," Fallin said. "Unfortunately, the White House has once again denied aid to Oklahoma and Payne counties. Having visited wildfire damage in all three locations and seen families left with no home and businesses burned to the ground, I continue to believe the residents of Oklahoma and Payne counties are deserving of federal aid. The state of Oklahoma will continue to look for ways to provide assistance to the victims of wildfires, regardless of which county the live in."
The August wildfires damaged nearly 300 homes in Cleveland, Oklahoma and Payne counties. This number includes 270 homes that were destroyed. An estimated 85 percent of the homes damaged or destroyed were not insured. One person died in the fire in Cleveland County. Creek County was previously approved for assistance related to the fires.
On August 13, Governor Fallin requested individual assistance for Cleveland, Creek, Oklahoma and Payne counties. Creek County was granted federal assistance August 22, but FEMA denied assistance for victims in the other three counties. The governor appealed the FEMA denial.
Oklahomans who suffered uninsured fire damage in Cleveland County are now eligible for assistance for housing repairs or temporary housing, U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) low-interest loans for individuals and businesses to repair or replace damaged property, disaster unemployment assistance and grants for serious needs and necessary disaster expenses not met by other programs.
To apply for disaster assistance, individuals and business owners in Cleveland County must call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or go online to http://www.disasterassistance.gov/. There is a limited amount of time available to apply.
Cleveland County residents who have already called FEMA to report damage prior to the appeal are asked to please call again now to confirm their registration.
For those impacted by wildfires in Oklahoma and Payne counties, the state is continuing to work to bring assistance through the SBA. Such assistance would make low interest disaster loans available to homeowners, renters and business owners in these counties. Further information will be provided when available.