FEMA offers continued help for those affected by wildfires
Despite a Nov. 30 deadline for Oregonians affected by September's wildfires to apply for federal assistance, the agency in charge of the relief effort says "help is still available."
"No one eligible for assistance will be turned away," said La-Tanga Hopes, a spokesperson for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, on Wednesday, Dec. 2.
In addition to financial assistance, FEMA is offering the following recovery resources for those affected by the wildfires, which were collectively one of the worst natural disasters in Oregon's history.
• Free Crisis Counseling — The Safe+Strong Helpline is available for both children and adults who are struggling with stress, anxiety or other mental health symptoms in the wake of a disaster. For help, call 800-923- 4357 or visit online at safestrongoregon.org/mental-emotional-health
• Disaster Legal Assistance — Disaster Legal Services is taking questions from wildfire survivors. Call 800-452-7636 or 503-684-3763, Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or visit online at oregondisasterlegalservices.org
• Flood Insurance — Flood risk increases in and around areas affected by wildfires, as FEMA explains. "The scorched land, or what's commonly called a burn scar, are land areas incapable of absorbing water. This makes areas located below a burn scar more vulnerable to flooding and debris flow," the agency said. "The time to buy flood insurance is now." Insurance policies purchased through the National Flood Insurance Program typically take 30 days to go into effect, and with winter upon us, that means residents facing the possibility of flooding should make this a priority, FEMA says. Learn more about NFIP insurance, the risks of flood after fire and how to purchase a policy to protect your home and property at floodsmart.gov/wildfires
The fires, which ignited throughout the state starting this past Labor Day, burned more than 1 million acres of land and more than 4,000 homes.
Flames ripped through Oregon towns from the Santiam Canyon to Southern Oregon, the Oregon Coast to the Clackamas River.
In all, more than 40,000 people were evacuated, including hundreds who fled the Powerline Fire near Gaston and the Chehalem Mountain-Bald Peak Fire in between Hillsboro and Newberg.
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