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Federal help sought for Oklahoma wildfire victims

BY MICHAEL MCNUTT Modified: April 23, 2009 at 6:03 am •  Published: April 23, 2009
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Gov. Brad Henry is requesting federal disaster aid for those affected by this month’s wildfires.

If approved by the White House, the request will provide individual assistance to residents and business owners in Carter, Cleveland, Grady, Lincoln, McClain, Murray, Oklahoma, Payne and Stephens counties, according to the governor’s press office.

Nearly 270 homes and businesses in the state were damaged beginning April 9 as fires burned more than 100,000 acres across the state. Damage included 228 homes that were destroyed, the governor’s office said.

"The wildfires caused significant damage and hardship in communities throughout the state,” he said. "There are many families and individuals who have a long and challenging road ahead.”

The governor said he will seek assistance for other counties as damage to homes and businesses is confirmed in other areas. He said he will request that other counties be added to the declaration as conditions warrant.


Disaster aid
If the request for individual assistance is granted, Oklahomans who had uninsured fire damage in the nine counties will be eligible for assistance for:


• Housing repairs or temporary housing.


• U.S. Small Business Administration low-interest loans for individuals and businesses to repair or replace damaged property.


• Disaster unemployment assistance.


• Grants for serious needs and necessary disaster expenses not met by other programs.

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