Smoke can be seen rising from areas scarred by the Swan Lake Fire on Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019 at Mile 10 of Skilak Loop Road, on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Smoke can be seen rising from areas scarred by the Swan Lake Fire on Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019 at Mile 10 of Skilak Loop Road, on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Loans available for businesses affected by Swan Lake Fire

Loans for fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and bills that can’t be paid because of the fire.

The federal government is offering disaster loans for local businesses impacted by the Swan Lake Fire, which has burned over 160,000 acres near Sterling.

After an Oct. 2 request from Gov. Mike Dunleavy, the U.S. Small Business Administration made a disaster declaration in response to the Swan Lake Fire, an Oct. 8 press release from Small Business Administration said.

In Cooper Landing, where the local economy relies heavily on summer tourism, local businesses were forced to shut their doors and cease services for much of the summer due to heavy smoke from the fire and impending evacuation notices.

The Small Business Administration’s Assistance is available to businesses in the Kenai Peninsula Borough, Kodiak Island Borough, Lake and Peninsula Borough, Matanuska Susitna Borough, the Municipality of Anchorage, the Chugach Regional Educational Attendance Area, and the Iditarod Regional Educational Attendance Area.

“SBA is strongly committed to providing the most effective and customer-focused response possible to assist Alaska small businesses with federal disaster loans,” Acting Administrator Chris Pilkerton said in the release. “We will be swift in our efforts to help these small businesses recover from the financial impacts of this disaster.”

The loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact, the release said.

“Disaster loans can provide vital economic assistance to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing,” Director Tanya N. Garfield of SBA’s Disaster Field Operations Center-West said in the press release.

Eligibility is based on the financial impact of the disaster only and not on any actual property damage. Loans have an interest rate of 4% for small businesses and 2.75% for private nonprofit organizations with terms up to 30 years and are restricted to small businesses without the financial ability to offset the adverse impact without hardship.

The Kenai Peninsula Small Business Development Center is offering free counseling to assist businesses in their recovery. Businesses may contact the center’s director Cliff Cochran by emailing cliff.cochran@aksbdc.org or calling 907-260-5643 to schedule an appointment. The Kenai Peninsula Small Business Development Center is located at 43335 Kalifornsky Beach Road, Suite 12.

Small nonfarm businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations of any size may qualify for Economic Injury Disaster Loans of up to $2 million to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses that could have been met had the disaster not occurred, Garfield said in the release.

For more information about the disaster assistance, businesses can visit and apply at disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.

Applicants can also call 800-659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov for more information on disaster assistance. Individuals who are deaf or hard‑of‑hearing may call 800-877-8339. Completed applications should be mailed to U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.

The deadline to apply for economic injury is July 8, 2020.

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