Feds Approve $20 Million For Victims of California Wildfires

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Federal authorities have approved more than $20 million in disaster aid for victims of two massive wildfires that devastated parts of Northern California this summer.

The amount includes more than $10 million in low-interest loans by the Small Business Administration to businesses and residents.

Additionally, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved nearly $10 million for rental housing and other cash assistance.

The two fires that began days apart in September burned more than 200 square miles and killed six people. The fire in Lake County, about 90 miles north of San Francisco, destroyed nearly 2,000 structures, including some 1,300 homes.

The other fire burned mostly through Calaveras County, about 125 miles northeast of San Francisco, and destroyed nearly 500 homes.

FEMA spokesman Victor Inge said more than 3,500 people have registered for help. People affected by the fires have until Nov. 23 to register.

"We've been going out door to door in the area and literally canvassing the affected communities,'' Inge said.

London-based Aon Benfield, a global insurance company, has estimated that the two fires did nearly $2 billion in damage, about $1.5 billion in Lake County alone.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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