Arizona

Aug 9, 2013 8:32 PM by Brian White

Obama Administration denies federal assistance for Yarnell Fire

PHOENIX - Governor Jan Brewer late today received word from the Obama Administration that it had denied the state's request for a federal Major Disaster Declaration in response to the Yarnell Hill Fire.

"I am deeply troubled by the Obama Administration's decision to deny much-needed recovery assistance in the wake of Arizona's deadliest wildfire. This designation would have provided critical aid to citizens most impacted by the fire.

"The State of Arizona continues to mourn this tragedy, which took the lives of nineteen of our bravest first responders. While no amount of federal assistance could ever ease the pain of such an extraordinary loss, it would have provided significant financial relief to Yarnell and Peeples Valley. Local residents are under enough emotional stress as they work to pick up the pieces and put their communities back together. Wondering how or if they will recover their losses should be the last of their worries.

"In the days after the fire, I appreciated the call I received from President Obama, during which he pledged to support our state during its time of great need. I was even more encouraged when Vice President Biden reiterated that commitment at the memorial service for the fallen Granite Mountain Hotshots. With today's denial of the state's request, Arizonans are left questioning what help they were willing to give.

"I was hopeful the federal government would recognize the exceptionally devastating circumstances surrounding this tragedy, and support Arizona's request.

"The State will review its options regarding an appeal of this misguided decision. We will continue to do everything in our power to assist in that effort. Rest assured, that is a pledge that will not be broken."

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