Newhouse Statement on President’s Approval of Federal Disaster Public Assistance for WA Wildfires

October 21, 2015
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA) released the following statement after the announcement that the federal government approved Governor Jay Inslee’s request on October 7, 2015 for federal disaster assistance for emergency work related to this summer’s devastating wildfires:

“I am glad that the Administration complied with the request for a major disaster declaration, approving financial federal assistance for wildfire-devastated areas across Washington,” said Rep. Newhouse. “This assistance allows critical support for emergency work and repair of facilities damaged by the record-setting wildfires this summer. While this emergency support is a much-needed step in the right direction, the request for Individual Assistance, which would provide impacted homeowners and businesses with relief, must be approved as quickly as possible to meet the needs of impacted residents. On behalf of affected communities in Central Washington, I am grateful for the response thus far and continue to urge the President to grant vital individual assistance.”

The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Public Assistance Program provides assistance for emergency work and the repair or replacement of disaster-damaged facilities as well as Hazard Mitigation Grant programs. The approval of public assistance covers Chelan, Ferry, Lincoln, Okanogan, Pend Oreille, Stevens, Whatcom, and Yakima Counties and the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation.

Earlier this month, Rep. Newhouse joined members of the federal delegation representing areas in Washington State impacted by this summer's historic wildfires to urge President Obama to grant the Governor’s request for federal disaster assistance. In August, Rep. Newhouse urged prompt approval of Governor Inslee’s request for a federal emergency disaster declaration, which was granted by FEMA. However, with more than one million acres burned and 146 homes destroyed and another 476 damaged, more federal assistance is necessary to respond adequately to the affected communities.