Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer tonight declared herself “very disappointed” to learn that the Obama administration has denied her request to have June’s deadly Yarnell Hill Fire declared a major disaster.
Brewer issued a statement in which she said the state will continue to review its options regarding an appeal of the decision.
The State of Arizona continues to mourn this tragedy, which took the lives of nineteen of our bravest first responders. While no amount of federal assistance could ever ease the pain of such an extraordinary loss, it would have provided significant financial relief to Yarnell and Peeples Valley. Local residents are under enough emotional stress as they work to pick up the pieces and put their communities back together. Wondering how or if they will recover their losses should be the last of their worries.
In the days after the fire, I appreciated the call I received from President Obama, during which he pledged to support our state during its time of great need. I was even more encouraged when Vice President Biden reiterated that commitment at the memorial service for the fallen Granite Mountain Hotshots. With today’s denial of the state’s request, Arizonans are left questioning what help they were willing to give.
Nineteen firefighters were killed June 30 fighting the wildfires, prompting country music star Dierks Bentley to host a benefit concert to raise money for their families. Other families waiting for federal assistance won’t be receiving it, though.