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Washington State To Feds: We Need More Help To Recover From Wildfires

Anna King
Northwest News Network

In north-central Washington people are trying to get back to normal. But that’s pretty hard with a major housing shortage after more than 350 homes were lost to wildfires.

Wednesday Washington Governor Jay Inslee asked for more wildfire recovery assistance from the federal government to help that situation. He had asked before, but was denied in mid-August.

Now that the fires are out, state officials have been able to do more research and surveys. They found that many of the homes were not insured. That means that it’s unlikely that much of that housing can be rebuilt.

Right now people are living with relatives, friends and neighbors. And nerves are frayed and commutes to jobs are long. The fear is many people may have to leave the region, and the tourism these towns depend on might not recover.

Individual assistance would mean the state could apply for low-interest loans, temporary housing and help on rent.

Anna King calls Richland, Washington home and loves unearthing great stories about people in the Northwest. She reports for the Northwest News Network from a studio at Washington State University, Tri-Cities. She covers the Mid-Columbia region, from nuclear reactors to Mexican rodeos.