Federal aid approved for wildfire-ravaged Cleveland County in Oklahoma

The federal government again denies individual assistance to other wildfire victims in Oklahoma and Payne counties.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT mmcnutt@opubco.com Published: September 28, 2012
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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.

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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.

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