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Arizona Gov. Brewer asks again for federal help after deadly wildfire

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer is asked the Obama administration to reconsider giving the state federal assistance to help cover costs associated with this summer’s deadly Yarnell Hill wildfire.

The administration has already said the costs connected to the central Arizona fire -- in which 19 firefighters died and dozens of homes were destroyed -- can be handled by local agencies.

The Republican governor, with bipartisan support from Arizona federal and state lawmakers, made the appeal in a letter Wednesday to President Obama, asking him to reconsider the administration’s decision about the deadliest wildfire in state history.  

“I continue to believe steadfastly that a federal disaster declaration is justified,” Brewer wrote. “I have asked President Obama to reconsider his administration’s decision to deny assistance to Arizona. I am hopeful that, as promised, President Obama will be wholly committed to the recovery and rebuilding of communities harmed by the tragic Yarnell Hill Fire.”

Brewer made her first request July 9 to declare the fire a major federal disaster. The money received would in part pay for housing assistance for displaced residents and other costs not covered by insurance.

In her letter, Brewer lists several “additional and previously overlooked factors” by the Federal Emergency Management Agency in rejecting the first request, particularly that the hardest-hit areas are rural communities that cannot easily recover.