/ Last Modified August 9, 2013

Yarnell Fire Disaster Declaration Turned Down

Brewer calls news from White House 'misguided decision,' will consider options for appeal.

The Obama administration told Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer Friday that the request for a federal disaster declaration for the Yarnell Hill Fire had been denied.

The fire is one in which 19 hot shot firefighters were killed when the blaze took a sudden turn and swept over them as they tried to seek shelter.

“I am deeply troubled by the Obama administration’s decision to deny much-needed recovery assistance in the wake of Arizona’s deadliest wildfire," Brewer said in a statement. "This designation would have provided critical aid to citizens most impacted by the fire."

Brewer said in her statement that federal assistance would have helped people with rebuilding in Yarnell and peeples Valley, in Yavapai County, where 200 homes and other buildings were destroyed.

“I was hopeful the federal government would recognize the exceptionally devastating circumstances surrounding this tragedy, and support Arizona’s request," the governor said in her statement.

“The state will review its options regarding an appeal of this misguided decision," she said. "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.”

Aid from a federal disaster declaration could have included low-interest loans to businesses for rebuilding and temporary housing for residents who lost their homes. It also would have provided erosion mitigation planning and preparation for the state forestry lands burned by the fire.

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