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Jackson County launches fire recovery website

Jackson County has launched a fire recovery website that brings together information to help people impacted by the Almeda and South Obenchain fires.

The website at roguevalleyrebuilds.org has information from multiple organizations and government agencies involved in recovery and rebuilding efforts.

“Recovering from these fires is a regional challenge. The county and affected cities can’t do it individually, and the state and federal government can’t do it for us. We all need to work together,” said John Vial, director of the county’s Emergency Operations Center. “As we transition out of the emergency phase of this disaster into the recovery phase, Jackson County Emergency Management will be moving increasingly toward an interagency collaboration and public-private partnership model.”

The website includes the latest updates from county and Federal Emergency Management Agency officials, information on how to take part in a coordinated fire debris cleanup program, financial help, how to deal with insurance, housing and more.

“We’ve created this website as a one-stop information shop for survivors. Resources and news from local, state and federal agencies will all be collected in one place,” said Jackson County Technology Director Mark Decker. “It will also refer people to private and nonprofit resource organizations in the community.”

The website is organized into sections such as “Recovery,” “Rebuilding” and “Resources.”

In the recovery section, residents will find help getting back on their feet financially, advice for dealing with insurance companies and information about temporary housing options.

In the rebuild section, property owners can get help cleaning up hazardous debris and learn what’s next in the rebuilding process.

The website is designed to be usable by all community members, including those who have limited English or don’t have a computer.

“Many of our residents lost their computers in the fire and only have a smartphone currently,” Decker said. “So we are trying to make the site as mobile-friendly as possible. We’ve also included Google auto-translation and links to key information in Spanish.”

Vial said the website is a place for people to find accurate information.

“There are so many sources of fire information out there on the internet, and not all of it is accurate and current,” he said. “This new website provides a central location where the latest official information is always available. Rebuilding is a complex process, and we want our residents to have reliable information as we move forward.”

The website currently focuses on early-stage recovery efforts, such as debris cleanup, getting financial relief and finding temporary housing.

Over time, it will evolve to focus more on longterm rebuilding issues such as planning, permits and construction, county officials said.

Other information on the website includes how to donate to wildfire victims, tax relief for damaged properties, physical and mental health care resources, voting, replacing vital records and documents, contacting utility providers, and Small Business Administration help for businesses.

Bow DeBey took this shot of a burning home in Talent from his bike the night of Almeda fire.