Brown appeals denial
of Rim fire disaster status
California officials may have figured Gov. Jerry Brown’s request for a presidential major disaster declaration for this year’s Rim fire was a slam dunk. It was the third-largest wildfire in state history and torched thousands of acres in Yosemite National Park, an American treasure.
It didn’t happen. The Federal Emergency Management Agency denied the state’s request, saying the fire’s magnitude and severity didn’t justify the declaration.
Brown appealed the decision Monday. In a letter to President Barack Obama, Brown wrote that the state and local communities “face infrastructure damage, significant negative economic impact, as well as complex and multifaceted environmental damages. The burned area created an enormous potential for catastrophic flooding and debris runoff from winter storms.”
Washington hasn’t entirely left the state on its own to deal with the Rim fire. In August, the state received a fire management assistance declaration that paved the way for federal grants. The money, though, reflected less than one-third of the fire’s 69-day duration, Brown wrote.
– Jim Miller