Creek Fire evacuees apply for federal funds to help rebuild their homes

Tuesday, October 6, 2020
Creek Fire evacuees apply for federal funds to help rebuild their homes
Families and Fresno County officials are waiting on funding from federal agency FEMA that could help the mountain community move forward after the Creek Fire.

FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Dozens of homes have been reduced to piles of charred rubble by the Creek Fire, leaving many hoping for federal funds that could help them rebuild.

Robert Diaz knows the heartache first hand.

His cabin, which he had recently bought and spent his savings to remodel, was burnt to the ground.

Diaz is one of many who've applied for FEMA funds but all he can do is wait until the agency declares and authorizes funding for both individuals who've lost their home, and for the county.

The individual assistance would help the families who've lost their homes, as well as many who can't afford fire insurance.

"They've quadrupled the price of fire insurance and reduced the companies covering for fire insurance - funnelled everybody into a few companies that will actually give you insurance," Diaz says.

The county assistance fund would help cover the costs of not just the fire fight in both Fresno and Madera counties but to also repair the damage to roads and culverts before future rains cause more of a problem.

"They've recognized these are things that need to get repaired because if not, when rain comes out roads will be washed out and we'll have mudslides. With this fire that's already going to be $100 million in damage, that's a lot of money and the county can't just reach in the pockets, so assistance from fed and state will really benefit," Fresno County Supervisor Nathan Magsig says.

If authorized, FEMA could reimburse the county up to 75% of the costs.

Magsig says a letter has been sent to President Trump on behalf of different members of Congress, asking him to grant the request for federal funding.

Action News reached out to FEMA to get the latest on the funding, but hasn't received a response. However, Magsig is hopeful they'll receive an update from the agency this week.