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Part Three: Waldo Canyon Fire Recovery Assistance

This is the final email the in a series answering frequently asked questions about sources of recovery assistance:

  1. Small Business Administration (SBA) Read the email.
  2. Long Term Recovery Group (LTRG) Read the email.
  3. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

In today's email, we will address FEMA support. We have received several questions over the last few of months concerning the role of FEMA in the response to the Waldo Canyon Fire disaster. The following is intended to clarify the involvement of FEMA in the recovery process.

What type of FEMA assistance was made available under the Major Disaster Declaration for the Waldo Canyon Fire?

The President authorized three primary funding mechanisms through FEMA to support the recovery efforts from the Waldo Canyon Fire:

  1. The Crisis Counseling Program provides funding to the State Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and local mental health agencies to support immediate and long-term counseling services associated with the fires.

    AspenPointe has received this funding and, through the Waldo Support Team, is providing extensive crisis counseling services in the areas affected by the fire. Visit for the most up-to-date information about the services Waldo Support Team is offering.
  2. Public Assistance for emergency protective measures provides up to 75% reimbursement of total cost for local and state government agencies for measures taken before, during, and after the disaster to eliminate or reduce an immediate threat to life, public health, or safety, and improved public or private property.
  3. Fire Management Assistance Grants provide up to 75% reimbursement of total cost for fire suppression related expenses incurred by local and state government agencies.

These funding mechanisms are focused on covering the costs of crisis counseling, mitigation, ensuring public health and covering the cost of the response to the incident.

What types of FEMA assistance were not made available under the Major Disaster Declaration for the Waldo Canyon Fire?

On behalf of impacted communities, the State of Colorado requested and was denied Individual Assistance and Public Assistance Permanent Work for the Waldo Canyon fire.

Individual Assistance would have provided assistance to eligible individuals and families including rental assistance and/or limited rebuilding assistance.

Public Assistance Permanent Work would have provided assistance to local agencies to restore infrastructure damaged by the fire.

Why was FEMA assistance denied and why is assistance not directly available to survivors for housing and rebuilding?

After conducting a Preliminary Damage Assessment in conjunction with the State of Colorado and local agencies, FEMA determined that the Waldo Canyon Fire disaster did not meet the statutory criteria for the Individual Assistance program. This decision was based on factors such as the overall level of insurance coverage and the local community's capacity to support recovery efforts.

FEMA also denied the State's request for Public Assistance permanent work because the State did not meet the required impact indicators for uninsured damages to public infrastructure.


Colorado Springs Together is an independent 501(c)(3) Non-Profit
Colorado Springs Together is a community-driven volunteer effort, and is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The team members are distinguished citizens and business professionals in the community facilitating and coordinating a quick and effective rebuilding process for the neighborhoods devastated on June 26th by the fire. The donations received will go towards the activities required to help restore the lives and the neighborhoods affected by the fire at the same time maintaining a strong sense of community during the rebuilding process.

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