SALEM, OR (KPTV) - President Donald Trump has issued an emergency declaration for Oregon due to the deadly wildfires that have burned across the state and federal officials have also declared a public health emergency as dangerous, smoky conditions continue.
The major disaster declaration, issued late Tuesday, allows a range of federal help for people and public infrastructure affected by the blazes. The public health emergency declaration will give hospitals and other organizations in the state more flexibility to meet the needs of people who are on Medicare and Medicaid.
Wildfires raging across the state have burned more than 1,300 square miles.
Authorities say more than 1,140 residences have also been destroyed by the blazes and 579 other structures decimated.
Gov. Kate Brown earlier in the week had asked Trump to issue the emergency declaration.
The financial assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses and other programs to help businesses and business owners recover.
People are urged to contact their insurance agent, because the federal help with backstop what private insurance doesn't cover.
Oregon Rep. Greg Walden says those who need this help should act right away.
"We really need all Oregonians who are displaced or affected by the fire to register with FEMA. That begins their case and their process and the sooner they do that, the sooner the help will begin," he said.
For matters related to emergency assistance with housing, people are asked to call 211.
To register for federal assistance, call FEMA at 1-800-621-3362 or at disasterassistance.gov.
Walden said there will be more conference calls to confirm just how many "boots on the ground" will be in the state and to assess any environmental hazards that could halt rebuilding efforts.
Copyright 2020 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.