Individual assistance provided for wildfire victims, what to do next

- As of Saturday, all six counties involved in the North Bay Fires have been declared an emergency disaster zone, officials said. This means there’s individual assistance for those impacted.

Those seeking assistance should register now, said former Fremont Battalion Chief Mark Neveau.

Once you register the process begins. You can do so from your mobile phone by visiting disasterassistance.gov or fema.gov. The smartest thing you can do is register online as the process is fairly easy. If you have more complicated questions, you can call the help line.

FEMA has called in thousands of people to help assist in this process, but still there is an enormous backlog.

You will need some documents, though. And if you were severely affected by the fires, you likely do not have them. You’ll need to get to the DMV and use your finger prints to get a driver’s license. Regardless of whether or not you have a ID, get to a local assistance center. There’s one open in Santa Rosa and more will begin to open following the emergency disaster zone announcement.

The centers will be able to help with providing assistance for housing, funerals, dental, unemployment and more. But it’s important that those seeking assistance contact their insurance, as the assistance program is designed to fill in the gaps, not provide all of the resource for restoration.

For renters, just about everything offered to homeowners will be available. The assistance is for individuals only, as businesses are already receiving support though the public assistance declaration.

As of late Friday, about 1,800 people have requested assistance from FEMA. And that’s just for one county. The numbers are expected to rise dramatically.

The assistance is for principal residents only, not for secondary homes.

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