President awards Rim fire funding

December 13, 2013 

President Barack Obama on Friday declared this summer’s Rim fire a major disaster, reversing an earlier denial of aid following an appeal by Gov. Jerry Brown. Friday’s declaration frees up federal funding for the state, Tuolumne County and other local governments and certain nonprofit groups. The money will pay for emergency work and the repair or replacement of roads and other structures damaged by the Rim fire. The blaze burned from Aug. 17 through Oct. 24, scorching more than 257,000 acres, and is the third-largest wildfire in state history. It devastated the region’s Yosemite-based tourism industry and caused $54 million in damage, according to the latest estimates. Last month, though, the Federal Emergency Management Agency denied Brown’s Oct. 8 request for a major disaster declaration, saying the fire’s severity and magnitude did not justify it. Brown appealed to Obama earlier this month, and FEMA reversed itself Friday. “This is welcome news for those impacted by this devastating wildfire, and I’m thankful for FEMA’s careful reconsideration of the governor’s request,” Mark Ghilarducci, director of the governor’s Office of Emergency Services, said in a statement. “Even though the fire is out, the impacts to the local economy, environment and region haven’t gone away. We look forward to FEMA’s assistance in the important recovery work that has been under way since October.”

Modesto Bee is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service