Nev. Gov. Seeks Presidential Disaster Declaration for Waterfall Fire Destruction

August 9, 2004

Nevada Gov. Kenny Guinn has requested a Presidential Disaster Declaration for the Waterfall Fire, which charred thousands of acres in the mountains surrounding Carson City on July 14-21.

After assessment of damages performed by a joint federal, state and local Preliminary Damage Assessment Team, it was determined that the State of Nevada is justified in this request as a result of the extensive damages experienced from the fire and the long-term recovery that will be required to prevent further damages.

“While the costs of responding to the Waterfall Fire were of significant magnitude to state and local governments, the priority must now be to ensure that the environmental effects of the fire do not result in subsequent disaster,” Gov. Guinn said. “If the application is approved, we will seek the appropriate federal funding that will enable preventive measures to take place to stabilize the burn areas.

“We have talked directly to White House staff and they have promised that the Disaster Declaration for the Waterfall Fire will be given every consideration and will be expedited as quickly as possible. They understand the seriousness of our situation.”

If the State’s request for a Presidential Disaster Declaration is approved, the federal government would provide a 75 percent reimbursement for costs incurred as a result of responding to and recovering from the fire as well as additional post-disaster hazard mitigation funding to assist in the rehabilitation of the burn area. The Governor has designated Frank Siracusa, Chief of the Nevada Division of Emergency Management, as the State Coordinating Officer for this request.

“This would provide much-needed funding for further restoration efforts, which would not jeopardize FEMA funding that was put in place at the onset of the fire,” Gov. Guinn added.

The State of Nevada is reportedly currently exploring financial programs that may assist homeowners and private business owners affected by the Waterfall Fire.

Currently, Nevada does not meet the minimum requirements to obtain this type of assistance; however, as more information becomes available, state officials may reportedly re-visit application for these programs.

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