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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release June 7, 1996


President Clinton today declared a major disaster exists in the State of Alaska and ordered Federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area struck by wildland fires beginning on June 2, 1996, and continuing.

"Today I am declaring a major disaster in Alaska. Last night I spoke to Governor Knowles, who briefed me on the impact of the fire and the heroic efforts of the people of Alaska to combat the flames. I have asked James Lee Witt, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, to lead a team of officials to survey the damage and ensure the federal government continues to work closely with the local authorities and volunteers to combat this fire. The thoughts and prayers of all Americans are with the people of Alaska during this difficult time," the President said.

The President's action makes Federal funding available to affected individuals in Matanuska-Susitna Borough and the City of Houston.

Assistance can include disaster housing, grants, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is continuing to conduct damage surveys in other areas as the fire threat diminishes and additional areas may be added after the assessments are completed.