Oklahoma was one for three in successfully appealing to the federal government to reverse its decision denying individual assistance to wildfire victims in Cleveland, Oklahoma and Payne counties.
Gov. Mary Fallin said Thursday the federal government approved disaster aid for Cleveland County, which makes individual assistance available to residents and business owners affected by August wildfires.
Oklahoma and Payne counties again were denied federal assistance.
“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,” Fallin said. “The state of Oklahoma will continue to look for ways to provide assistance to the victims of wildfires, regardless of which county they live in.”
The July 28-Aug. 14 wildfires damaged nearly 300 homes in Cleveland, Oklahoma and Payne counties. Of those, 270 homes were destroyed, according to the governor's office. 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.
Fallin made her request Aug. 13 for individual assistance for Cleveland, Creek, Oklahoma and Payne counties. Creek County was granted federal assistance Aug. 22, but the Federal Emergency Management Agency denied assistance for the other three counties. The governor appealed that decision earlier this month.
Oklahomans who had uninsured fire damage in Cleveland County are now 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, 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 (800-621-3362) or go to www.disasterassistance.gov. There is a limited amount of time available to apply.
The governor's office is asking Cleveland County residents who called FEMA to report damage before the appeal to call again to confirm their registration.
AT A GLANCE
Counties removed from state burn ban
Recent rains led the governor to remove 22 counties Thursday from a state-issued burn ban. Thirty-three counties remain under a state-issued burn ban and another three counties are under county commissioner bans. Gov. Mary Fallin said the long-term forecast shows continued drought conditions through much of the state where the ban remains in effect, but the risk of wildfire has lessened in several areas. Counties remaining under the state-ordered burn ban are: Beaver, Beckham, Carter, Cimarron, Comanche, Cotton, Ellis, Garfield, Garvin, Greer, Harmon, Harper, Haskell, Jackson, Jefferson, Kay, Kiowa, Latimer, Le Flore, Love, McCurtain, Murray, Noble, Osage, Pawnee, Payne, Pontotoc, Stephens, Texas, Tillman, Washita, Woods and Woodward. County Commissioner bans are in effect for Creek, McClain and Pittsburg counties.