Yarnell Hill Fire: Arizona denied federal funds to help victims of massive wildfire

PHOENIX - Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer received word on Friday that the Obama administration has denied the state's request for a federal Major Disaster Declaration after the Yarnell Hill Fire.

The designation would have provided aid to citizens of Yarnell who lost their homes in the fire.

In a written statement Brewer said, "While no amount of federal assistance could ever ease the pain of such an extraordinary loss, it would have provided significant financial relief to Yarnell and Peeples Valley."

Over 100 homes were lost in the Yarnell Hill Fire that started on June 28 and took the lives of 19 Hotshot firefighters.

In the letter denying the major disaster declaration, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate said the damage to the "uninsured private residences from this event was not of such severity and magnitude as to be beyond the capabilities of the state, affected local governments, and voluntary agencies."

Brewer has 30 days to appeal the denial.

U.S. Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake also responded to the denial stating that they were disappointed by the decision and that they would discuss the matter with Brewer and "begin exploring with her options for appealing this decision."

Arizona House Speaker Andy Tobin is also upset about FEMA's decision. He says the devastation reaches beyond the state's capabilities.

"It looks like an atomic bomb went off," said Tobin. "These people up there deserve just as much attention as Hurricane Sandy victims."

Back in 2011, the Wallow Fire destroyed around 500,000 acres and burned nearly two dozen homes. However, FEMA assistance was also denied.



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