Colville Tribes to seek assistance from FEMA after major fires

Damage from the North Star Fire in Washington. Photo from Facebook

The Colville Tribes of Washington will ask the Federal Emergency Management Agency for additional assistance in response to two devastating fires that hit the reservation and surrounding areas.

The North Star Fire destroyed more than 20 percent of the tribe's timberlands. Along with the Tunk Block Fire, more than 500 square miles of the reservation were affected.

President Barack Obama issued a disaster declaration on October 20 that included the reservation. But that covered general assistance only, The Tribal Tribune reported, and FEMA rejected the state's request for individual assistance on October 22.

"This is very disappointing news," Gov. Jay Inslee (D) said in a press release. "This is the second time in as many years that we’ve been denied Individual Assistance following a major fire. We have homeowners that have lost everything."

The tribe will now be approaching FEMA directly, The Tribal Tribune reported. That would enable people who lost homes to secure individual assistance, the paper said.

Under amendments to the Stafford Act, tribes can seek disaster declarations directly from the federal government. Previously, they had to rely on states.

Get the Story:
Tribe to apply for FEMA Individual Aid after Washington state request fails (The Tribal Tribune 10/29)
Puyallup Tribe donates $50,000 to Colville Emergency Relief Fund (The Tribal Tribune 10/29)

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Colville Tribes see major loss of timberlands to two huge fires (09/15)

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