July 21, 2004
"The state is doing everything possible to fight these fires. I am aggressively seeking SBA funds to provide relief to businesses, that have lost significant revenue due to road and park closures or threats to public health due to air quality," said Governor Murkowski.
Commissioner Edgar Blatchford and his staff from the Department of Community and Economic Development contacted a variety of small businesses in the area that have suffered economic impacts from the fires. Data shows that at least eleven businesses have been seriously harmed and that number continues to grow.
"These businesses have
suffered substantial economic injury and are in need of financial
assistance," said Commissioner Blatchford. "Many of
these small businesses are seasonal and dependent on tourism
and road traffic - it is our hope that SBA can soon provide them
Over the weekend, damage to the Interior totaled more than 1 million acres. There are currently 12 Type 1 crews, four of which are Alaska crews, diligently working these fires. In addition, 53 Alaska Type 2 Village crews are working fires in other parts of the state.
Due to the high level of fire activity and subsequent need for additional fire fighting resources, Alaska remains at Fire Preparedness Level 5, the highest ranking on the Fire Preparedness scale. For detailed information and daily updates on the fire situation go to: http://fire.ak.blm.gov/news/news_1.htm
"These fires have now burned large areas of the Interior and continue to threaten structures," said Governor Murkowski. "Once an area is contained, we can then determine the damage to any physical structures, if any, that has occurred and identify an appropriate source of disaster funds through SBA."
According to the most recent BLM update, fires burning in the Interior are still uncontrolled and threaten public safety - evacuation alerts continue. Authorities ask residents to limit driving in fire areas to necessary travel only and ask residents to drive with caution, keep their headlights on, and watch for debris and possible wildlife on the road.
Source of News Release: