Senators, CMR Ask Biden To Act On Malden Wildfire Disaster Declaration

Jan 22, 2021

More than four months after a wildfire roared through Malden, Washington, the federal government still hasn't acted on the state's emergency disaster declaration.

Washington’s U.S. senators and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) say they’ve asked President Joe Biden to approve a major disaster declaration for eastern Washington towns that were burned by wildfires last fall. Those include the Whitman County town of Malden, which lost about 80% of its homes.

Then-President Trump never responded to two disaster applications from Governor Inslee.

That, say Malden leaders, has kept their recovery effort in limbo. It has kept them from accessing other forms of aid. Many of the burned homes were uninsured or underinsured.

With the change in administration, the senators hope the state’s application will receive a more sympathetic ear.

Malden Mayor Dan Harwood, speaking at a legislative hearing in Olympia on Friday, said the residents of his town and nearby Pine City have suffered enough.

“No one lost their lives then, but three weeks later, we started losing folks to the stress of losing their homes. We lost an 86-year-old lady. She lost the fight of her life. She’d given up because they’d lost their home," he said.

In their letters, the senators and McMorris Rodgers ask the president to act quickly to grant the disaster request.