State wants to expand wildfire disaster declaration

Tuesday, January 24th 2006, 5:20 pm
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management said Tuesday it has asked that the wildfire disaster declaration issued by the federal government be expanded.

President Bush signed a disaster declaration for 12 counties on January 10, clearing the way for assistance programs including temporary housing and low-interest loans to repair non-insured property losses. The state would like to add 14 counties to that declaration.

A total of 786 homes have been damaged by wildfires in Oklahoma, said Michelann Ooten, a spokeswoman for the state's Department of Emergency Management, including 268 in the 14 counties the disaster declaration does not yet cover.

Those 14 counties are Bryan, Carter, Choctaw, Creek, McIntosh, Murray, Muskogee, Okmulgee, Osage, Payne, Pittsburg, Pontotoc, Tulsa and Wagoner.

The counties now in the disaster declaration are Canadian, Cotton, Garvin, Hughes, Lincoln, Logan, Mayes, Okfuskee, Oklahoma, Pottawatomie, Seminole and Stephens.