Right now, there are massive wildfires are burning in Northern California with the Valley Fire and Butte Fire. The areas have been declared a major disaster by the president, and for those affected by them, there are places to find relief.
According to the LA Times, firefighters "gained the upper hand" on Northern California's massive wildfires Tuesday, as President Obama declared a major disaster for the areas affected by the Valley fire. This declaration allows federal assistance for home repairs, temporary housing, as well as other programs to help people affected by the fire.
This request was made from Governor Jerry Brown, who saw the fire as a result of four years of drought conditions, which left California vulnerable to these types of fires. So far, three people have been confirmed to have died as a result of the Valley fire that started on September 12th near the mountain town of Cobb. Two residents, 61-year-old Robert Litchman and 66-year-old Robert Fletcher, are missing, according to the Lake County Office of Emergency Services.
So far, the Valley Fire has destroyed an estimated 1,238 single-family homes, 23 multifamily homes as well as hundreds of other structures. According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, it is the third most destructive wildfire in California history, having burned 76,067. The Valley Fire is reported as being 79 percent contained, with the cause under investigation. Over 3,300 firefighters are fighting this fire.
In addition to the Valley Fire is a destructive Butte fire, burning in Calaveras and Amador counties. It is reported to be 82 percent contained as it burned 70,868 acres. This blaze has destroyed an estimated 475 residences and hundreds of other structures, is said to be the seventh most destructive wildfire in California history.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) encourages residents of Lake County affected by the Valley Fire to apply for assistance. Those individuals and families that have suffered losses as a result of the Valley Fire can call FEMA's toll-free registration number at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Those applicants that have a speech disability or hearing loss should call 1-800-462-7585 directly, and anyone who uses a 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS) should call 1-800-621-3362.
It is also possible to receive help online with www.DisasterAssistance.gov/ as well as the use of the FEMA smartphone application at m.fema.gov. For registering with FEMA, the following information is required: the name as it appears on the applicant's Social Security card, the applicant's Social Security Number, the address of the damaged home or apartment and proof the applicant lived there at the time of the disaster, information about insurance coverage, a current contact telephone number, an address where the applicant can receive mail, as well as a bank account and routing numbers (should you want direct deposit of any financial assistance). FEMA encourages applicants to call their insurance agents and file a claim at the same time.