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Creek Fire Victims: Understanding Your FEMA Letter

SACRAMENTO – FEMA reminds wildfire survivors in Fresno and Madera counties that your application for assistance cannot be processed until FEMA has a report of the fire damage to your home and personal property.

You may not have been able to make a report because you were or still are under an evacuation order. When permitted to return home, speed up the decision about a recovery grant by providing your damage report to FEMA as quickly as possible.

Some survivors may have received letters from FEMA stating that the agency cannot refer them to its Individuals and Households Program. This does not mean a denial, but that FEMA cannot move your application forward until you report your damage.

Bottom line, making an application for assistance is not the end of the process for determining your eligibility to receive a FEMA grant. You must keep FEMA informed of your contact information whenever it changes and you must report your damage.

As evacuated residents shelter in hotels, with family and friends or find other accommodations, all who have applied to FEMA for disaster assistance need to keep in touch. FEMA needs your current address and phone number to process requests for assistance and review eligibility. As your situation or location changes, please keep FEMA informed.

Update your application using the original method you used to register with FEMA: online at DisasterAssistance.gov; with the FEMA app you downloaded to your smartphone or tablet; or by calling the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585) between 7 a.m. and 10:30 p.m. PDT. If you use a relay service such as a videophone, Innocaption or CapTel, provide FEMA the specific number assigned to that service when you register.

For questions about a letter from FEMA or anything else about your application, answers are only a phone call away to the FEMA Helpline.

After you register, create a personal online disaster assistance account to help you communicate with FEMA. You can use it to update your contact information, see copies of letters from FEMA and upload documents the agency must have to complete your application. Go online to DisasterAssistance.gov then click the green Check Status button at bottom of the page. Click the blue Create Account button at bottom of page and follow the instructions. You can also create an account using the FEMA app that you can download to your smartphone or tablet.

Survivors of the Bobcat, Creek, El Dorado, Glass, Oak, Slater, Valley and Zogg wildfires that occurred beginning Sept. 4, 2020, and continuing, who live in one of the 10 counties designated for federal aid are reminded that their deadline to register with FEMA is Dec. 16, 2020. The counties are Fresno, Los Angeles, Madera, Mendocino, Napa, San Bernardino, San Diego, Shasta, Siskiyou and Sonoma.

For the latest information on wildfire recovery, visit https://www.fema.gov/disaster/4569 and follow the FEMA Region 9 Twitter account at https://twitter.com/femaregion9.

All FEMA disaster assistance will be provided without discrimination on the grounds of race, color, sex (including sexual harassment), religion, national origin, age, disability, limited English proficiency, economic status, or retaliation. If you believe your civil rights are being violated, call 800-621-3362 or 800-462-7585(TTY/TDD).

FEMA’s mission: Helping people before, during, and after disasters.

The U.S. Small Business Administration is the federal government’s primary source of money for the long-term rebuilding of disaster-damaged private property. SBA helps businesses of all sizes, private nonprofit organizations, homeowners and renters fund repairs or rebuilding efforts and cover the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged personal property.

For more information, applicants may contact SBA’s Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955. TTY users may also call 800-877-8339. Applicants may also email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov or visit SBA at SBA.gov/disaster.

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