From USA today PHOENIX -- Federal officials Friday denied Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer's request to declare the Yarnell Hill Fire a disaster, saying it was "not of such severity and magnitude" to warrant additional federal aid. "FEMA, by law, cannot duplicate benefits provided by insurance companies or other federal agencies," Watson said. "In this case ... it was determined that the damage to uninsured private residents from this event was not beyond the response and recovery capabilities of the state/local governments, and voluntary agencies." Nineteen wildland firefighters were killed fighting the blaze, which destroyed 108 homes and damaged another 23 in the small high-desert community.
It's a shameful response to a legitimate request. The disaster affected a large portion of the state and in comparison to the state's resources, the disaster qualified. Federal response is covered under the Stafford Act. A Governor must request the assistance, and discretion is reserved to the President. It's obvious this situation qualifies; however, relations between the President and Governor Jan Brewer are frosty; this is petty politics, and is a disgrace to the office of the president.