Tuesday, February 20 , 2018, 6:33 am | Fair 38º


Jesusita Fire: Santa Barbara County Continues Recovery Efforts

The SBA's Disaster Loan Outreach Center in Santa Barbara is closed, but applications can be filed online

Santa Barbara County officials are continuing their response efforts to the Jesusita Fire on a variety of levels, including, to date, issuing 55 permits for debris removal from the 106 parcels affected by last month’s fire.

Seventy-four homes in the county’s (unincorporated) jurisdiction were destroyed by the Jesusita Fire, along with 84 accessory structures.

County officials have assigned project case managers to all parcels and property owners facing the rebuilding process, similar to the county’s response for property owners affected by last year’s Tea Fire. Most of the property owners involved in the Jesusita Fire already have been in contact with their case managers.

Property owners who still need the names and contact information for their case managers can call Petra Leyva with the county’s Planning and Development Department at 805.568.2071, or Pat Saley, the county’s Jesusita Fire ombudsman at 805.560.1098 for case manager information and other special assistance.

State and local law enforcement officials continue to urge the public to respect the privacy of those dealing with the loss of their homes by staying out of the burn areas. Most of the hiking trails accessed through the burn areas remain closed. Law enforcement officials will be ticketing violators, especially those stopping vehicles in designated “no parking” zones, and officers will be looking to catch unlicensed contractors attempting to solicit business.

Officials with the Small Business Administration remind residents that they have until July 20 to apply for assistance. The SBA’s temporary Disaster Loan Outreach Center inside the County Administration Building, 105 E. Anapamu St., is closed but applications can be made online by using the electronic loan application on SBA’s secure Web site.

The filing deadline to return applications for property damage is July 20. The deadline to return economic injury applications is Feb. 22.

Disaster loan information and application forms are also available from SBA’s Customer Service Center by calling the SBA toll-free at 800.659.2955, e-mailing .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or by clicking here to visit the SBA’s Web site. Those who are hearing impaired may call 800.877.8339.

Low-interest federal disaster loans are available to homeowners, renters, businesses and private, nonprofit organizations whose property was damaged or destroyed by the disaster, SBA communications specialist Roger Busch said.

Disaster loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property.

Businesses of any size and private, nonprofit organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets. SBA also can lend additional funds to homeowners and businesses to help with the cost of making improvements that protect, prevent or minimize the same type of disaster damage from occurring in the future.

For small businesses and most private, nonprofit organizations, the SBA offers economic injury disaster loans to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. EIDL assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered any property damage.

Other important telephone numbers for fire-related issues are:

» Debris removal: Public Works Department at 805.882.3605.

» Asbestos issues: Air Pollution Control District at 805.961.8872.

» Septic systems and water wells: Public Health, Environmental Health at 805.681.4900.

» Homeowners insurance: State Insurance Hot Line at 800.927.HELP (4357).

» State Contractor’s Licensing Board: local agent Brenda Fink at 818.585.7075.

Property owners both in the burn zone and downstream are urged by the Public Works Department to update their flood insurance policies now before the rainy season arrives in the fall. It takes at least 30 days from the time of purchase for flood insurance to become effective.

The department has been identifying areas where its crews can start work in the ravines, creeks, streambeds and other areas to help minimize the expected mud and debris that may come down from the burned hillsides. It also is working on plans to clean out debris basins, install debris racks and establish sandbagging stations for property owners.

— William Boyer is Santa Barbara County’s communications director.

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