Financial Help Offered to Wildfire Victims


Financial Help Offered to Wildfire Victims

05 September 2012

published by www.loansafe.org


USA– More than 100 victims of the Creek County wildfires attended an area meeting Tuesday night to get financial information and advice as they start the slow process of putting the pieces of their lives back together.

Mannford Town Administrator Mike Nunneley, who was encouraged by the turnout at the Mannford High School’s Multi-Purpose Facility, urged residents to consider taking advantage of low-interest loan opportunities that will make their federal assistance dollars stretch.

Many who lost all their material possessions in the fires are qualifying for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s maximum grant of $31,400. The grant does not have to be paid back and is given to fire victims in a lump sum.

Nunneley said FEMA is not bringing in trailers for temporary residences, as it has done in some other areas, but is offering financial assistance through the grants.

“I think they just said, ‘We’ll do it monetarily and let people decide how they want to leverage that money,’” Nunneley said.

Fire victims are also offered low-interest loans that can be paired with FEMA dollars to purchase a mobile home or to rebuild houses. A FEMA grant may be used as the down payment for a loan.

The federal Small Business Administration gives low-interest loans not just for business owners but for home owners and renters, as well, at rates as low as 1.688 percent for homeowners and renters and 4 percent for businesses with terms up to 30 years.

And American Heritage Bank is offering a 15-year, 4-percent loan with no origination fees for fire-loss victims on conventional or mobile homes.

Jennifer Reed wasn’t enticed by the low-interest loan opportunities.

“I think the grant would be better,” she said, “because we owned everything free and clear. I don’t want to suddenly jump into a home loan.”

Reed said she owns five acres where her uninsured mobile home was destroyed. She doesn’t think it could have been insured, anyway, because it was a 1977 model.

Nunneley urged residents who have or will be awarded FEMA grants to be careful as they make purchases and avoid telling sales people exactly how much they have to spend.

“If you tell them how much money you have, I guarantee they’re going to want to help you out. Don’t get taken advantage of,” he warned.

Craig Anderson, an area accountant, discouraged those who inquired about using 401(k)s to cover expenses.

While individuals would probably have access to the funds due to a hardship, Anderson said the money would have to be repaid within five years.

“If you don’t, it becomes taxable, and there’s a penalty,” he said.

Like many residents, Reed said her septic system will have to be replaced along with more than 160 feet of PVC pipe.

Nunneley said the city is working to get equipment and volunteers to help with septic repairs and electric needs at victims’ home sites.

“We have plumbers that said they would help. We have people who will donate their time,” he said. “The city will do all we can even though it’s outside our jurisdiction. We’re going to go out and help even through none of it happened in our city limits.”

Reed, her husband, four children and five dogs have been staying in Reed’s mother’s one-bedroom apartment since the wildfire destroyed their mobile home and a cherished 1976 Chevrolet Blazer.

Nunneley said officials are working and hoping to entice builders to the area. He said they also want to try to pool resources from monetary donations by buying PVC pipe and other items at a bulk rate.

Forty people requested some type of help Tuesday night.

Some residents said their lawn equipment was destroyed and that their scorched properties are now already knee-high in newly grown grass. A disabled man said he needed help with rebuilding a deck. A woman inquired whether legal assistance would be available.

Nunneley told the crowd that the city would waive deposits for new electric, water and sewer service to customers who lost their dwellings in the county.

FEMA has set up a second disaster recovery center at the First Baptist Church of Olive.

The first has been in operation for a week at the Mannford Community Center from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturdays and from noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays.

Nunneley said people are still signing up for assistance – 24 more people did on Tuesday.When the Fourmile Canyon Fire erupted west of Boulder in 2010, smoke from the wildfire poured into parts of the city including a site housing scientists from the University of Colorado Boulder’s Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2012-08-evidence-heat-trapping-effects-wildfire-particles.html#jCpWithin 24 hours, a few researchers at the David Skaggs Research Center had opened up a particle sampling port on the roof of the building and started pulling in smoky air for analysis by two custom instruments inside. They became the first scientists to directly measure and quantify some unique heat-trapping effects of wildfire smoke particles.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2012-08-evidence-heat-trapping-effects-wildfire-particles.html#jCpWhen the Fourmile Canyon Fire erupted west of Boulder in 2010, smoke from the wildfire poured into parts of the city including a site housing scientists from the University of Colorado Boulder’s Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Within 24 hours, a few researchers at the David Skaggs Research Center had opened up a particle sampling port on the roof of the building and started pulling in smoky air for analysis by two custom instruments inside. They became the first scientists to directly measure and quantify some unique heat-trapping effects of wildfire smoke particles. “For the first time we were able to measure these warming effects minute-by-minute as the fire progressed,” said CIRES scientist Dan Lack, lead author of the study published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The researchers also were able to record a phenomenon called the “lensing effect,” in which oils from the fire coat the soot particles and create a lens that focuses more light onto the particles. This can change the “radiative balance” in an area, sometimes leading to greater warming of the air and cooling of the surface. While scientists had previously predicted such an effect and demonstrated it in laboratory experiments, the Boulder researchers were one of the first to directly measure the effect during an actual wildfire. Lack and his colleagues found that lensing increased the warming effect of soot by 50 to 70 percent. “When the fire erupted on Labor Day, so many researchers came in to work to turn on instruments and start sampling that we practically had traffic jams on the road into the lab,” Lack said. “I think we all realized that although this was an unfortunate event, it might be the best opportunity to collect some unique data. It turned out to be the best dataset, perfectly suited to the new instrument we had developed.” The instrument called a spectrophotometer can capture exquisite detail about all particles in the air, including characteristics that might affect the smoke particles’ tendency to absorb sunlight and warm their surroundings. While researchers know that overall, wildfire smoke can cause this lensing effect, the details have been difficult to quantify, in part because of sparse observations of particles from real-world fires. Once the researchers began studying the data they collected during the fire, it became obvious that the soot from the wildfire was different in several key ways from soot produced by other sources—diesel engines, for example. “When vegetation burns, it is not as efficient as a diesel engine, and that means some of the burning vegetation ends up as oils,” Lack said. In the smoke plume, the oils coated the soot particles and that microscopic sheen acted like a magnifying glass, focusing more light onto the soot particles and magnifying the warming of the surrounding air. The researchers also discovered that the oils coating the soot were brown, and that dark coloration allowed further absorption of light, and therefore further warming the atmosphere around the smoke plume. The additional warming effects mean greater heating of the atmosphere enveloped in dark smoke from a wildfire, and understanding that heating effect is important for understanding climate change, Lack said. The extra heating also can affect cloud formation, air turbulence, winds and even rainfall. The discovery was made possible by state-of-the-art instruments developed by CIRES, NOAA and other scientists, Lack said. The instruments can capture fine-scale details about particles sent airborne by the fire, including their composition, shape, size, color and ability to absorb and reflect sunlight of various wavelengths. “With such well-directed measurements, we can look at the warming effects of soot, the magnifying coating and the brown oils and see a much clearer, yet still smoky picture of the effect of forest fires on climate,” Lack said. CIRES is a cooperative institute of CU-Boulder and NOAA.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2012-08-evidence-heat-trapping-effects-wildfire-particles.html#jCp


 

 

 

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