Mayor Ed Lee praises Obama’s disaster declaration for Rim Fire

A disaster declaration by President Barack Obama for this past summer’s Rim Fire has finally granted federal funds to aid state and local relief efforts — highly anticipated news for many politicians, including Mayor Ed Lee.

“I extend my deepest appreciation to President Barack Obama for signing a Presidential Disaster Declaration to provide much needed federal support for the ongoing restoration and recovery of the ecological resources, structures and infrastructure affected by the California Rim Fire,” Lee said in a statement following the president’s declaration Friday.

Lee also thanked Gov. Jerry Brown, who in a letter to Obama on Dec. 3 appealed the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s denial for the major disaster declaration on Nov. 4. Damage estimates for the state’s third largest wildfire now exceed $54 million, according to the Governor’s Office.

The Rim Fire, which charred 257,135 acres in Mariposa and Tuolumne counties from Aug. 17 to Oct. 24, reached the edges of the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir but did not impact water quality for the 2.6 million customers in the Bay Area, Lee said.

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