MEDFORD, Ore. — In-person help sessions planned for wildfire survivors next month are being postponed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Jackson County announced Wednesday.
The County says that the move to Extreme Risk status for COVID-19 on Friday, which could remain Jackson County’s status for three weeks, has caused FEMA to postpone its re-engagement schedule for May.
The meetings were originally scheduled for May 1 through 4 in Talent and May 7 through 10 in Phoenix, with FEMA representatives on hand to review applications previously filed by survivors who have concerns or were denied benefits.
The state’s Extreme Risk level assignment to Jackson County will be in place through at least May 6. The County says FEMA staff will call all families that signed up to inform them that their appointments will be rescheduled when meetings can be conducted safely.
“This is not what any of us wanted to see, but given the Governor's orders and the potential for this event to provide an opportunity for virus spread between staff and survivors, FEMA made the difficult decision to postpone. I want to emphasize that this a postponement, not a cancellation,“ said Jackson County Emergency Operations Center director John Vial.
The FEMA face-to-face meetings with last year’s wildfire survivors to assist them through the claim process included both the South Obenchain and Almeda Fires.