PINERIDGE, California (KSEE) — Families left cleaning up the Creek Fire’s destruction now have a no cost option to clean up their property.
Assemblyman Jim Patterson announced the new option Thursday morning to media, who again stressed the need to get the clean up done before rain and snow hit the mountain communities.
Despite losing everything in the fire, Mark Hansen said he’s still better off than most.
“Lot of people dropped their insurance [before the fire],” he said. “Then they weren’t working because of COVID-19, now they have nothing.”
But, whether you have insurance or not, there’s now a no cost, government funded clean up for anyone who lost their home in the fire. Patterson said it’ll be in two phases: the first phase, starting the first week of November, will be hazardous waste removal. The second phase, starting in mid-December, will be all burnt waste removal.
Patterson warns, if you’ve already started doing the work yourself — you may be ineligible for these no cost services.
“If that’s been the case, call Fresno County. Let the know what you’ve done,” he said. “You don’t want to mistakenly be disqualified for the necessary resources if you are trying to remove this yourself.”
All destroyed homes registered with Fresno County will automatically be enrolled for these no cost services. If you’re fine with using your insurance, you’re still free to use it.
Filing an insurance claim is the first step in getting other help, like FEMA assistance. After filing your claim, you can register with FEMA online at disasterassistance.gov. You can also do this on the FEMA smartphone app, or call 1-800-621-3362.
If FEMA denies assistance, you can appeal.
“Read through the entire determination letter. There will be reasoning, an explanation on why that decision was made,” said Briana Summer Fenton, media relations specialist with FEMA. “There are a lot of common reasons that people may be ineligible, so it could be an easy fix.”
If you started using your insurance to start the clean up and want to switch to the no cost option, you just have to return what your insurance gave you first.
Patterson’s office created an overview of the no cost process, you can find it by clicking here.
If your home was destroyed in the fire and you’re not sure it’s registered with Fresno County, you can check if it’s listed on this map. You can also give the county a call.