Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion  A structure on Slough Avenue burns late into the night after the Card Street wild fire burned near the Kenai Key subdivision on June 17, 2015 in Sterling, Alaska. The flames burned high from a damaged gas line.

Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion A structure on Slough Avenue burns late into the night after the Card Street wild fire burned near the Kenai Key subdivision on June 17, 2015 in Sterling, Alaska. The flames burned high from a damaged gas line.

Fire disaster assistance available

Families affected by area wildfires will have the opportunity to apply for state assistance this month.

Jeremy Zidek with the Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management said a disaster assistance center will be set up in the Sterling Elementary School July 7-8. This is where families can apply for state assistance.

“It’s an opportunity for people to go in, actually sit down with someone, and fill out an application,” Zidek said.

Two Individual Assistance programs, Individual Family Grants and Temporary Housing, have been approved by Gov. Bill Walker in the wake of statewide wildfires, one of which consumed 11 peninsula structures. The Individual Assistance programs are enacted by the governor when a state of disaster is declared for an area, according to an Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management fact sheet. Local government leaders must make a disaster assistance request to receive aid.

Individual Family Grants are available for those who have sustained significant damage to a primary home, lost essential personal property or primary transportation or require funds for medical, dental or funeral services. The Individual Family Grant program can provide up to $16,450 for those who qualify.

The Temporary Housing Program can provide families in need with up to 18 months of rental assistance for homeowners, or repair assistance.

Zidek said that while these two programs are mostly geared toward those who have suffered damages to their primary dwelling, no one who has been affected by area fires is discouraged from applying for assistance. While the programs are meant to help those who have lost their primary homes, those who experienced damage to summer or other homes can sometimes apply for assistance. Even if someone is not qualified for the state assistance, Zidek said it is important to apply anyway because outside organizations are poised to step in where the state cannot.

“We have a lot of government partners that will take a look at it,” Zidek said. “There’s also other organizations that can provide home furnishings, bedding (and) clothing replacement.”

Zidek said there have been two applications stemming from the Card Street fire, and 45 applications statewide.

Greg Roberts and his family recently moved to Eagle River, but the cabin they’ve been working on since 1995 was lost to the Card Street fire. Roberts said he has applied for state assistance, and is waiting for the application to be reviewed.

Roberts said he had plans to make the cabin, located on Cottontree Lane in the Kenai Keys, into his retirement home. His family spent a lot of time there each summer, he said.

“Even if I just got a loan or help with a loan, that would be great,” Roberts said. “That’s basically the cabin we built from scratch when (our son) was little.”

Once an application for assistance has been processed, Zidek said verifiers will visit the property with the homeowner to assess the damage, even if cleanup has already begun.

“We certainly don’t want anyone to wait for us to get out there to … begin their recovery process,” Zidek said. “If they can take pictures, make good lists of what was damaged, really document the damage, that is what we need for the program.”

Roberts has already made progress cleaning up the remains of his two-story log cabin, vehicles, boats, fishing gear and other remnants of the life he has built living in Alaska since 1971.

In all, Roberts estimated he will be out about $250,000 between the loss of property and the cost to rebuild.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough is another entity that can help with cleanup and recovery.

Paul Ostrander, chief of staff for the Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor, said Mayor Mike Navarre authorized the borough to waive the tipping fees for Roberts’ cleaning expenses.

“(The mayor) has the ability to waive that in certain instances,” Ostrander said, explaining that Roberts qualified under a hardship waiver.

The disaster assistance center will run from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. July 7-8.

Those interested in receiving assistance can fill out an application at the disaster assistance center, or online at The deadline to apply is Aug. 18.

“It was pretty simple,” Roberts said. “You don’t know until you fill it out.”


Reach Megan Pacer at

More in News

EPA logo
Alaska Native group to receive EPA funds for clean water projects

The agency is handing out $4.3 million to participating tribal organizations nationwide.

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
State reports 6 new COVID deaths

The deaths, which included a Kenai woman in her 40s, pushed the total to 840 since the pandemic began.

Ryanna Thurman (right) speaks to a library employee at the Soldotna Public Library on Thursday, March 25 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna library seeks OK for grant fund purchases

The funds are made available under the federal American Rescue Plan Act

Alaska State Troopers logo.
Kenai man killed in vehicle rollover

The man was travelling northbound on the Sterling Highway on Tuesday.

Cheryl Morse and Tom Kleeman prepare Thanksgiving lunch at the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank on Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Food bank opens doors for Thanksgiving lunch

“We don’t know what to expect, so we’re trying to still be cautious on our limited seating.”

Carter Kyle (left), Lincoln Kyle (center) and Brandon Kyle (right) hand off Thanksgiving meals at a drive through event hosted by the Salvation Army on Thursday, Nov. 25, 2021 in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Thanksgiving on the go

Salvation Army hands out meals in drive-thru event

Bench creator, Brad Hughes, pours the molding material over the clay while Rob Wiard and Matt brush the liquid rubber over each character on the bench to ensure it is covered evenly. (Photo by Sarah Knapp/Homer News)
Molds for the Loved Lost Bench are underway

Construction for the memorial bench continues as the rubber molds to shape the concrete are made.

Alaska Rep. David Eastman sits at his desk on the Alaska House floor in Juneau, Alaska, on March 5, 2020. Dozens of West Point graduates have demanded state Rep. Eastman resign from office over his ties to a right wing extremist group, saying his affiliation has betrayed the values of the U.S. Military Academy he attended. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer, File)
70 West Point grads call on Alaska lawmaker to resign

Fellow West Point graduates called on Eastman to resign after his membership in the Oath Keepers became public.

Most Read