SACRAMENTO – Free help with disaster-related legal concerns is available to eligible wildfire survivors in Fresno, Los Angeles, Madera, Mendocino, Napa, San Bernardino, San Diego, Shasta, Siskiyou, and Sonoma counties.
These counties are covered in federal disaster DR-4569 for fires beginning Sept 4. This includes the Bobcat, Creek, El Dorado, Oak, Slater, and Valley fires. The disaster was declared Oct. 16 and expanded later to include Napa and Sonoma counties for the Glass Fire and Shasta County for the Zogg Fire.
Survivors may seek no-cost aid with wildfire-related legal issues by calling the disaster legal services hotline at 888-382-3406. English- and Spanish-speaking attorneys will be available. Callers also may leave a message. The program is a partnership between FEMA and the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division.
Types of free legal assistance that may be available from a volunteer lawyer include:
- Help securing FEMA and other government benefits available to disaster survivors;
- Assistance with life, medical and property insurance claims;
- Help with home repair contracts and contractors;
- Replacement of wills and other important legal documents destroyed in the wildfires;
- Assisting in consumer-protection matters, remedies and procedures;
- Counseling on mortgage-foreclosure problems;
- Counseling on landlord-tenant problems;
- Referral to other attorneys and organizations for help with additional legal matters and COVID-19 resources.
Free disaster legal services are not allowed for cases that will produce a monetary award.
The deadline to register with FEMA for DR-4569 disaster assistance is Dec. 16, 2020.
Legal aid is available at the same hotline for survivors of DR-4558, declared Aug. 22 and expanded later to offer aid to those who suffered losses in wildfires starting earlier that month in the counties of Butte, Lake, Lassen, Monterey, Napa, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma, Trinity, Tulare, and Yolo. The deadline to register with FEMA for DR-4558 disaster assistance is Nov. 21, 2020.
For the latest information on wildfire recovery, visit https://www.fema.gov/disaster/4558, https://www.fema.gov/disaster/4569 and follow the FEMA Region 9 Twitter account at https://twitter.com/femaregion9.