Smoke from the Woolsey Fire as seen from Santa Monica.

The deadline for Woolsey fire survivors to register for federal aid and apply to participate in a state program that removes fire debris has been extended to Feb. 15.

Survivors can apply to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for grants and the Small Business Administration (SBA) for home or business loans. Homeowners can apply to the SBA for up to $200,000 to replace or repair their primary residence and up to $40,000 to replace or repair their personal property. Businesses and non-profits can receive up to $2 million in low-interest, long-term loans to replace damaged or destroyed real estate, equipment and inventory.

Residents can submit forms to opt-in or opt-out of the state-managed debris removal program, which will clear fire debris, including burned structures, concrete foundations and vehicles, from their properties. The program is free, but homeowners with insurance must file a claim to their insurance company to cover the cost of debris removal.

The deadline to apply for federal aid and the debris removal program was previously extended to Jan. 31 and has been extended to Feb. 15 to give survivors more time to file their applicants, a Los Angeles County spokesperson said.

Those affected by the fire can also give public testimony about their experiences to officials at two listening sessions held by Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl and a task force of local, state and federal officials. The first will be held Saturday, Feb. 23 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Elkins Auditorium at Pepperdine University and the second will be held Sunday, Mar. 3 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the King Gillette Ranch in Calabasas.

The testimony residents of the area impacted by the Woolsey fire give will inform a county report on how officials disseminated emergency notifications and helped evacuate a quarter of a million people.

The fire, which ignited Nov. 8 and destroyed 1,600 structures, was the most destructive fire the county has ever seen and has prompted the county to reevaluate its natural disaster procedures.

“The listening sessions will be used to ensure that the county’s upcoming report on the Woolsey fire will reflect the experiences of everyone who was affected,” Kuehl said. “This report will make recommendations that will help us more effectively protect lives and property in the future.”  

Kuehl introduced a motion to create the report at a Board of Supervisors meeting in December in response to questions from the public about the procedures that were used for evacuations, firefighting, repopulation and road closures. She said the report would identify a need for a uniform mass notification system to be used throughout the county and the Santa Monica Mountains.

Survivors can apply for FEMA and SBA assistance at disasterassistance.gov and opt-in or opt-out of CalRecycle at lacounty.gov/lacountyrecovers, by phone at (626) 979-5370 or at the Debris Removal Operation Center at 26610 Agoura Rd. in Calabasas.

madeleine@smdp.com

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