Firestorm 2007 Resources
Reporting and Record Keeping
- The San Diego County Department of Agriculture requests, if you've experienced loss or damage to your property due to the fires, that you fill out a Loss Report Form here. This information will be important in determining how much aid flows to San Diego County.
- In the event that funding becomes available for certain disaster relief programs, it is important that you document all expenses, losses and costs associated with cleanup and rebuilding through photos, receipts and journal entries. Agencies will need to see documented proof of expenses.
- If you've experienced losses, it is recommended that you contact the Farm Service Agency office in Indio (760) 347-3675 ext.2, and register with them. This will be helpful in the event that federal grants become available.
- Although it is unclear whether any funds will flow through FEMA to agriculture, it has been suggested by government officials that growers register with FEMA as well. You can contact FEMA at (800) 621-3362.
Growers who suffered fire damage and have crop insurance are advised to contact their agent immediately and have an adjustor sign off on the losses before doing any work to clean up the damage.
If you're covered by Farm Bureau's insurance partner, Allied Insurance, it is recommended that you contact your agent to begin your claim. If you want to contact Allied Insurance directly, that number is (800) 282-1446.
The lending institution American Ag Credit offers competitive financing for agribusiness. They have an office in Escondido and can be reached at (760) 746-5055. They also have a website, www.agloan.com.
The Farm Service Agency has available Emergency Low Interest Loans. You can read details here. If you think you qualify for these loans, call the FSA's Indio office at (760) 347-3675 ext. 2.
The Governor's State of Emergency declaration for San Diego County has activated the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency's Small Business Disaster Assistance Loan Guarantee Program. This loan is available to farmers, ranchers, growers, and ag-related businesses. California Southern Small Business Development Corporation, a non-profit corporation, contracts with the state to guarantee loans through traditional lenders. If you're going to apply for a loan through your bank to cover fire related losses, call the office listed below. You can read more about the Small Business Disaster Assistance Loan Guarantee Program here. Local Contact: California Southern Small Business Development Corporation, 600 B Street, Suite 2450, San Diego, CA 92101. Their phone number is (619) 232-7771. The president of California Southern is Mike McCraw. His cell phone number is (619) 884-0116.
Pending Programs (check this website often to see if funding is available)
These programs are offered by the United States Department of Agriculture. The local contact for these programs, if and when funds become available, will be the Farm Service Agency office in Indio (760) 347-3675 ext. 2, and the Natural Resource Conservation Service office in Escondido (760) 745-2061.
FSA Emergency Conservation Program. (Now funded. Application Deadline Dec. 31, 2007.) ECP can help rebuild productivity of the land and restore conservation structures including irrigation systems, stockwater facilities and fences.
Tree Assistance Program. TAP can replace lost trees.
Emergency Watershed Protection Program. EWP can help stabilize hills to prevent mudslides, revegetate land to reduce erosion and remove debris, preventing further damage to property.
Livestock Indemnity Program. LIP compensates livestock producers for livestock losses that resulted from natural disasters.
Livestock Compensation Program. LCP compensates livestock producers for feed losses on non-irrigated grazing land resulting from natural disasters.
Funded Relief Programs
NRCS and FSA have received a combined $6.6 million to fund two relief programs. See details here. The application deadline for funds from NRCS ends November 30th. The application deadline for funds from FSA ends December 31st.
Tax & Permit Relief
The county has waived all building permit fees for rebuilding structures damaged or destroyed by the wildfires. See details here.
Sempra Energy, the parent company of SDG&E, has set up a $5 million dollar relief fund available to anyone affected by the fires. Anyone wishing to receive aid should apply to the Sempra Energy Foundation. The Foundation will review all applications and make the best effort to provide relief to those most in need until all funds have been exhausted. You can apply online or request an application here. You can also request that an application be mailed to you by calling this number (866) 262-4842.
If you lost your source of income to the wildfires, you may be eligible to receive $535 a week for up to 26 weeks with state Disaster Unemployment Assistance. The standard waiting period has been waived for victims of the wildfires and applications can be filed online. To learn more about Disaster Unemployment Assistance, visit the state Employment Development Department at www.edd.ca.gov. The application deadline for state Disaster Unemployment Assistance has been extended to January 9, 2008.
The state is opening five Disaster Assistance Centers throughout the county to help those affected by the fire begin rebuilding. These centers will be a one stop source for disaster relief services. There will be representatives from county and state agencies providing information on how to replace records destroyed by fire, file insurance claims, and apply for assistance and housing. Operating hours are: Monday - Friday 8a.m. to 7p.m., Saturday 8a.m. to 4p.m., and Sunday 9a.m. to 2p.m..
FEMA has made available a Fire Disaster Assistance Packet for victims of the wildfires. It details steps and phone calls you should make in order to begin rebuilding. Financial aid may also be available for homeowners, renters and business owners who have sustained losses or damage. You can apply online at www.fema.gov, or call (800) 621-3362. The application deadline for financial aid through FEMA has been extended to January 9, 2008.
Resource Conservation Technical Assistance
The Natural Resource Conservation Service (760) 745-2061 provides technical assistance for erosion control, revegetation, fencing, irrigation systems, and other issues related to natural resource conservation.
Mission Resource Conservation District provides information on erosion control and can help estimate property repair and replacement costs. Their phone number is (760) 728-1332.
The County Department of Environmental Health has published numerous tips on safe and effective cleanup when returning to a burned area.
Chipping and Mulching
Wayne T. Williams, Program Coordinator for the Department of Public Works, Solid Waste Planning and Recycling Section, has submitted a flyer with recommendations for management of burned orchards. You can read it here.
Agri Service, Inc, a green waste recycling and compost facility and Business Supporting Member of the Farm Bureau, has made significant discounts available for growers affected by the fires. They are offering unscreened mulch free of cost to fire victims, you just pay the delivery fee, and 50 percent discounts on their other premium composted materials and screened mulches. Read about the benefits of mulching as a method of soil conservation and erosion control and how to contact Agri Service here.
U.C. Cooperative Extension
- The Farm and Home Advisors Office University of California Cooperative Extension has published Best Management Practices for soil conservation after a wildfire. A comprehensive article can be downloaded here.
- Gary Bender, a Farm Advisor with the County of San Diego U.C. Cooperative Extension office, has published an article titled Recovery from Fire Damage in Avocado Groves. You can read it here.
Wildfire Recovery Project, Crisis Counseling Program
Our outreach workers are available to meet with survivors in their homes, on their property or in a public location and are able to provide the following services:
- Individual and Group Crisis Counseling
- Individual and Group education on disaster relief and recovery
- Support Groups
- Self-help Groups
For more information contact Brian Jensen, Outreach Worker