FEMA, President Obama Come to Aid of Butte Wildfire Victims
Victims of the devastating Butte Wildfire may be eligible to obtain relief from the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA). President Obama declared California’s Calaveras County a disaster area, making residents who suffered losses eligible for FEMA assistance.
The Butte Wildfire was one of the most catastrophic in California history, killing 3 and destroying nearly 71,000 acres. Nearly 1,000 structures were destroyed, including 475 homes. This particular fire was even more tragic in that it was allegedly set off by a tree touching a power line owned by Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E).
Help for Those Who Need it Most
According to FEMA, the agency is not able to duplicate benefits through insurance or other sources. However, those who suffered losses that were either uninsured or underinsured can apply for financial help, as can those whose insurance settlements have been delayed.
But even if someone has received an insurance company settlement, he or she may still be eligible for a grant to help cover any unmet needs related to the disaster. These grants can be used to cover several different types of expenses, including medical, dental or funeral costs, emergency home repairs and more.
FEMA recommends those who suffered losses to contact the agency if their insurance settlements are delayed 30 days or more. Once they provide the needed documentation, such as the date and number of the claim and an estimate of how long it will take before a settlement is received, FEMA may be able to provide an advance payment. That payment would need to be repaid once the insurance settlement arrives.
Potential Legal Action
People who lost loved ones or property due to the Butte Wildfire may have another option as well. They may be able to take legal action against PG&E for alleged negligence due to the utility’s failure to properly clear vegetation near its power lines.