Creek Fire: Some victims still waiting to know if they'll get federal aid

There are concerns that hazardous chemicals in Creek Fire debris could make their way into Huntington Lake.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- It's been two months since the Creek Fire started burning in the Sierra National Forest.

As many begin the healing process, agencies like FEMA have stepped in to help those hit the hardest.

But when it comes to property cleanup some have been met with a roadblock.

"For some reason, these individuals are stuck in limbo with conflicting information," said Jim Patterson, Assemblyman for District 23.

46 cabins in the Huckleberry Tract community located at Huntington Lake were wiped out by the blaze.

Since those properties are on federal land, owners still don't know if they'll qualify for federal assistance.

"When people hear the assistance they deserve, the bureaucracies are saying, no, wait, maybe or we are not sure," said Patterson.

At the moment those at Huckleberry Tract are being told they're only eligible for phase one of cleanup.

This includes removing easily accessible chemicals from damaged or destroyed properties.

Debris would be removed in phase two.

"They don't really address the asbestos or anything that's under a metal roof for instance," said victim and Huckleberry Association member Phil Musson.

Now there's concern those hazardous chemicals could make their way into Huntington Lake.

Some have tried taking clean-up into their own hands, but say it's too expensive.

Property owners like Jennifer Pool have been quoted at least $60,000.

"And that is just for debris removal," she said. "What else is going to come up?"

Action News reached out to FEMA and a representative told us the matter is currently being discussed.

"Right now FEMA is working to get these questions answered and it is a complicated question, but we have worked through this in the past," said Media Relations specialist Briana Summer Fenton.

Meanwhile, a Disaster Recovery Center has been set up at the Heritage Center in Central Fresno to assist victims applying for federal funding.
The Disaster Recovery Center will stay open until further notice. Victims and access the center between 10 in the morning until seven at night Monday through Saturday.
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