Haslam seeks federal disaster declaration for 5 Tenn. counties after wildfires, tornadoes

Governor Bill Haslam (WKRN)

NASHVILLE (WATE) – Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam is seeking a federal disaster declaration for five counties in the state after wildfires and severe weather over the last several weeks.

The counties include Coffee, McMinn, Polk, Sequatchie and Sevier.

A presidential disaster declaration could help the counties with the cost of debris removal, emergency protective measures, and rebuilding and repairing roads, bridges, water control facilities, buildings, utilities and recreational facilities. A federal disaster declaration could also help qualifying individuals with direct assistance.

“My goal is to help ensure these counties have what they need to rebuild and recover from these heartbreaking disasters,” Haslam said. “The state and our local partners continue to work through the damage assessments, provide necessary services to help those in need, and get our neighbors and friends back on their feet.”

Fourteen people died and more than 2,400 buildings were damaged or destroyed in the Sevier County fires on November 28. The next night, five tornadoes touched down in Tennessee, leading to two deaths in Polk County.

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