The long road toward recovery from the devastating Round Fire has begun for residents of Mono County.
At the direction of Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., who on February 26 proclaimed a state of emergency for the county, personnel from CalRecycle are conducting pre-tests for the owner-authorized removal of debris from private properties that were damaged and destroyed by the fire. The debris removal is being funded through the California Disaster Assistance Act (CDAA) as part of the proclamation and comes in response to a public health emergency declaration by county officials.
“Our thoughts remain with those who lives have been altered by the tragic events of February 6 through 12,” said Charles Rabamad, assistant director of recovery for the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES). “Cal OES remains committed to supporting recovery efforts in Mono County.”
CalRecycle has begun the initial testing of the debris. Physical removal operations will begin as soon as the test results have been completed.
Mono is among California’s least-densely populated counties at 4.7, however the Round Fire struck one of the counties populated centers near the city of Swall Meadows.
Progress toward debris clearance follows last week’s announcement by U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet, approving Gov. Brown’s request that the federal agency provide low-interest disaster loans to qualified homeowners, renters, business owners and nonprofit organizations.
“The disaster declaration by SBA Administrator Contreas-Sweet is welcome news for residents of Mono and the neighboring counties affected by the fire,” said Rabamad. “The low-interest disaster loans will help eligible homeowners, renters and business owners take the next step toward recovery. We appreciate the SBA’s favorable response to Gov. Brown’s request for assistance.”
The declaration, based on the results of a joint preliminary damage assessment conducted by representatives of the Cal OES, the SBA and Mono County, also makes residents and business owners in the neighboring California counties of Alpine, Fresno, Inyo, Madera and Tuolumne as well as the Nevada counties of Douglas, Esmeralda, Lyon and Mineral eligible to apply for disaster loans.
Homeowners can apply for loans of up to $200,000 to repair or replace real estate that was destroyed or damaged by the fire; they and renters also can apply for up to $40,000 to help cover the repair or replacement of damaged or destroyed personal property.
Under the declaration, businesses of all sizes can apply for loans of up to $2 million to help repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery, equipment, inventory and other business assets.
Loans to help small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small aquaculture-related businesses and most private nonprofit organizations meet working capital needs resulting from the fire also are available, even if the borrower did not sustain any property damage.
Prospective borrowers can information about SBA disaster loans and obtain assistance with applications at from SBA personnel at the agency’s Disaster Loan Outreach Center at the Crowley Lake Community Center, 58 Pearson Road, Crowley Lake. The center is open from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, through March 25.
Additional information, including filing deadlines, and resources are available at:
Electronic Loan Applications via SBA secure website https://disasterloan.sba.gov/elaLoan information and applications via SBA Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 or firstname.lastname@example.org; 800-877-8339 for persons who are deaf or are hard-of hearing.
In addition to Governor Brown’s state of emergency proclamation for Mono County, making CDAA funding available, and his request for the SBA disaster declaration, state agency support of Mono County in response to the fires has included:
- Deployment of representatives from the Cal OES Fire and Rescue Branch, Law Enforcement Division and Southern Region to the Incident Command Post near Bishop;
- Coordination of support from the Board of Equalization, Department of Insurance; Contractors State License Board and Department of Motor Vehicles at the Local Assistance Center established after the fire;
- Tasking by Cal OES of Department of Toxics Substance Control personnel to remove toxic hazards from impacted properties.