(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) applauded the announcement that President Obama had partially granted Governor Inslee’s request for a major disaster declaration. The public assistance granted will support recovery from infrastructure damage to for Chelan, Ferry, Lincoln, Okanogan, Pend Oreille, Stevens, Whatcom, and Yakima Counties and the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation. Senator Murray spoke to FEMA Administrator William Craig Fugate today to urge him to grant the individual assistance requested as well, which is still under review.


“After the historic wildfires in Washington state this summer, I am so glad to see areas receive critical aid that will help communities recover and rebuild,” said Senator Murray. “While I am grateful for the assistance announced, I stressed to Administrator Fugate how important ‎Individual Assistance is to the hundreds of families who have lost their homes, jobs, and livelihoods - some for the second time in a year. We need to do everything we can to help those hardest hit by these fires and now face the challenge of rebuilding their lives. I urge the Administration to approve Governor Inslee's request for Individual Assistance as soon as possible.”


Two weeks ago, the federal delegation representing areas in Washington state impacted by this summer's historic wildfires sent a letter to President Barack Obama urging him to grant Governor Jay Inslee's request for federal disaster assistance. The letter was sent by U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and U.S. Representatives Dave Reichert (WA-8), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-5), Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-3), and Dan Newhouse (WA-4).  Last week, Governor Inslee’s request assistance for the massive windstorm in late August was granted, and yesterday public assistance was approved in some wildfire areas. However, members are still awaiting the announcement on individual assistance.


In August, members expressed support of Governor Inslee’s request for a federal emergency disaster declaration,  which was granted by FEMA. However, with more than one million acres burned and 146 homes destroyed and another 476 damaged, more federal assistance is necessary to respond adequately to the affected communities.