First building permit issued for Yarnell rebuild

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

PRESCOTT, Ariz. (AP) -- Efforts to rebuild the more than 100 homes destroyed during a deadly wildfire in Yarnell have recorded an initial milestone.

Yarnell Chamber of Commerce President Chuck Tidey disclosed during a community meeting that the first building permit has been issued for reconstruction of a home destroyed by the Yarnell Hill Fire, according to The Daily Courier.

The wildfire killed 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots when changing winds swept flames through their position June 30 outside Yarnell in west-central Arizona.

Tidey said the rebuilding is being aided by $1.2 million in donations to the Yarnell Recovery Group.

Goals include having the first home reconstruction start by Sept. 1 and completing reconstruction of all uninsured primary residences by Dec. 31, Tidey added.

So far, the federal government has denied Arizona's request for a major disaster declaration for the wildfire in Yarnell. Gov. Jan Brewer said the state is reviewing its options for an appeal.

Brewer sent a letter to President Barack Obama on July 9, asking him to declare the area around the Yarnell Hill fire a disaster area.

Approval would have brought long-term federal recovery programs to Yavapai County to help survivors and businesses that didn't have adequate insurance. It also would allow a federal team to do flood prevention work.

Brewer said assessments showed 109 homes in Yarnell were destroyed and 23 others were damaged by the lightning-sparked wildfire that charred about 13 square miles.

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