/ Last Modified September 13, 2013

FEMA Rejects AZ Appeal for Fed Assistance in Yarnell

'A declaration was reasonable, justified for nation's deadliest fire in 80 years,' Gov. Brewer says.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency rejected Friday Arizona's appeal of decision to not declare the Yarnell Hill fire a federal disaster, said a press release from Gov. Jan Brewer's office.

Brewer expressed tremendous disappointment for what is the second denial for federal aid in the area.

"A declaration was reasonable and justified for the nation's deadliest fire in 80 years," she said in the press release. "Let's hope no future disaster occurs in Arizona..."

In a separate letter to the Republican governor, the U.S. Small Business Administration announced it would provide low-interest disaster loans to areas affected by the devastating blaze in Yavapai County and surrounding counties, Brewer said in her statement.

The SBA will offer loans up to $200,000 for homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Also, homeowners and renters will be eligible for up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property, the press release explained.

"SBA's support through the issuance of loans is much needed, and will be helpful to residents and businesses as they continue to pick up and put back together the pieces after this tragedy," Brewer said. "We appreciate the assistance."

Aid from a federal disaster declaration could have included such loans, temporary housing for residents who lost their homes, as well as erosion mitigation planning and preparation for the state forestry lands burned by the fire.

Brewer asked Obama for a federal disaster declaration in July, shortly after the June wildfire took the lives of 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots, and destroyed nearly 130 homes and structures.

After FEMA denied the request in August, Brewer announced the state would appeal it in early September.

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