What is the Wildfire Assistance Program?
The Wildfire Assistance Program is a voluntary program meant to help those affected by the 2017 Northern California wildfires or the 2018 Camp Fire. The program provides funding for urgent needs, such as alternative living expenses, water and food, and medical supplies.
The Wildfire Assistance Program is now accepting applications from those affected by the 2017 and 2018 wildfires.
The deadline to apply for aid is November 15, 2019.
If you have questions or need assistance with your Wildfire Assistance Program application, please contact a member of the Northern California Fire Lawyers team at (530) 208-3062. We provide free and confidential consultations to those affected by the 2017 and 2018 California wildfires.
Who Qualifies for Wildfire Assistance?
The Wildfire Assistance Program provides urgent needs funding to eligible persons affected by the 2017 and 2018 California wildfires. Applicants may qualify for up to $5,000 to help meet their basic needs.
In order to qualify, you must prove that you have at least $5,000 of unmet needs that have not been compensated by FEMA. This $5,000 payment can be used towards buying water, food, prescriptions, medical supplies and equipment, infant formula and diapers, personal hygiene items, and transportation fuels.
After qualifying for the initial funds, some individuals and families may also be eligible for additional funding. This extra funding will be distributed to people who face extreme or extraordinary circumstances as compared to others who were impacted by the 2017 and 2018 wildfires.
To qualify for the payments, applicants’ primary residence must have been within the boundary of the 2017 Northern California wildfires or the 2018 Camp Fire. Applicants also must establish proof of identity and certify that they are not requesting payments for an expense already paid for by FEMA.
For more information, see our frequently asked questions.
Deadline to file your claim in bankruptcy court
Please note that the Wildfire Assistance Program and application are entirely separate from the claim form that must be filed with the bankruptcy court. Because PG&E declared a restructuring bankruptcy, anyone with wildfire losses must file a claim form by the December 31, 2019 deadline or forfeit any right to compensation from PG&E.
We are in the process of preparing and will file claim forms before that deadline on behalf of all of our clients. If you have any questions about filing your claim, consult with a wildfire attorney today.
The judge has set a new December 31 claims deadline. Contact an attorney today. Call 530-208-3062.
Why Over 2300 Clients Chose Us: Experience Matters.
- We filed our first lawsuit against PG&E nearly 30 years ago, and in these types of fire cases, no firm has more experience suing PG&E.
- We have won settlements against PG&E for hundreds of fire victims since 2010.
- We are more than 30 lawyers strong and we have the manpower, knowledge, and financial resources to take PG&E all the way through trial if necessary
It’s Important to Speak to a Lawyer Now.
The steps and actions you take in the aftermath of the fire can affect your rights and ability to file claims against PG&E going forward. An attorney can guide you and help preserve your rights even if you are not ready to join the Camp Fire lawsuit at this time. We also represent those who lost family members in the Camp Fire.
You Don’t Pay Anything Unless We Win.
If we don’t win, you owe us nothing. We will not charge you legal fees or for any the costs of litigating your case unless you win a recovery from PG&E.
Q: What is the Wildfire Assistance Program?
The Wildfire Assistance Program is a voluntary program intended to aid certain Wildfire Claimants who are still in need of assistance for alternative living expenses or other urgent needs. The United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of California overseeing the PG&E bankruptcy cases established a $105 million fund to address these needs.
Q: What is PG&E’s role in this Program?
The Wildfire Assistance Program is an independently administered program approved by the bankruptcy court to disburse the $105 million fund provided by PG&E to deliver immediate assistance to those households with unmet urgent needs as a result of the 2017 and 2018 Wildfires. PG&E has no role in reviewing or approving claims submitted to the Wildfire Assistance Program.
Q: Who administers the fund?
The Court appointed Cathy Yanni as the Administrator of the Wildfire Assistance Program. Cathy Yanni has extensive experience managing large scale programs, establishing eligibility criteria, and developing the procedures for distributing aid to eligible claimants. She has engaged with BrownGreer, a national settlement administrator with more than 25 years’ experience in designing and implementing claims processes, to ensure the efficient and expeditious resolution of claims from Wildfire Claimants.
Q: I am represented by an attorney. Can I still participate in this program?
Yes. If you are seeking assistance to address an unmet need as a result of being displaced by the 2017 and 2018 Wildfires, you may participate in this program. We can speak with you directly regarding your claim in this Program; however, you should speak directly with your attorney regarding any questions you have related to your specific situation and any other types of claims or litigation outside the Wildfire Assistance Program.
Q: When can I file a claim in this program?
The claim period will begin on August 15, 2019.
In addition to applying for aid with the Wildfire Assistance Program, many people affected by the fires may also have the right to file a claim against PG&E in court, and may not know it. Failure to file your claim could leave more money for PG&E and its investors. Here are some common misconceptions about who is eligible for recovery:
It is NOT true that you can only file a claim if you owned a home that was destroyed by the fire.
You can file a claim for a number of different reasons, including loss of a rental home, loss of personal property, and adverse health effects caused by the fire.
It is NOT true that you can only file a claim if you had an insurance policy.
This is a court claim against PG&E, and is not dependent on your insurance policy. You can file a claim even if your insurance has already covered some of your losses.
It is NOT true that you must have documents to prove every item you lost in the fire.
You may be eligible to file regardless of if you have relevant documentation. In fact, the simple act of having to flee the fire may enable your claim.
It is NOT true that you can only file a claim if you lost a loved one or experienced personal injury.
Other reasons for filing a claim may include damage to your home or loss of personal property as a result of the fire.
A lawsuit seeks from PG&E money to make you whole for the loss of your home, trees, property or belongings, medical bills, evacuation and temporary housing costs, emotional trauma and more. It doesn’t matter whether you have insurance because insurance alone won’t make you completely whole.
✓No Other Firm Has More Experience Suing PG&E.
Our first case against PG&E was nearly 30 years ago. We know PG&E’s playbook and we use that unique knowledge to benefit our clients.
✓We have succeeded in trial against PG&E.
Our lead trial lawyer, Mike Danko, is the only lawyer in Northern California to have taken a case of this type all the way through to trial and verdict against PG&E. Since then, PG&E has offered settlements to our clients in many cases during or just before the start of trial. PG&E knows we are ready, willing and able to take a case to trial, and that approach helps us achieve the best results for our clients.
✓Appointed by judges to lead legal battles against PG&E.
We have been appointed by judges to leadership positions in large-scale cases against PG&E, including the 2017 North Bay Fires cases, the 2015 Butte Fire cases, and the 2010 San Bruno Explosion cases. Judges trust us to represent the best interests of fire & disaster victims.
Our team of Butte Camp Fire Attorneys have been featured and our lawsuit against PG&E has been chronicled in major national and California news publications:
- Mike Danko in San Francisco Chronicle: “At some point there has to be accountability.”
- Amanda Riddle on ABC10: “They were leading people to a false sense of security.”
- Kristine Meredith on Fox40: “What’s so troubling to us [about the fires] is not only does it not change, it gets worse each time.”
- Dario de Ghetaldi in Mercury News: “PG&E needs to stop blowing up and burning down California.”
According to an article by the Chico Enterprise-Record, downed PG&E power lines may have sparked the Camp Fire per firefighter radio transmissions reviewed by Bay Area News Group. The article reports that at about 6:33 a.m. on November 8, 2018, firefighters were dispatched to a vegetation fire “under the high tension power lines” across the Feather River from Poe Dam, where CAL FIRE officials have identified as the fire’s origin on the agency’s incident page.
The article quotes one firefighter who told dispatch “We’ve got eyes on the vegetation fire. It’s going to be very difficult to access, Camp Creek Road is nearly inaccessible. It is on the west side of the river underneath the transmission line.” A dispatcher also alerted responding crews that “[t]here’s a possible power line hazard” per the article, and trucks arriving to the fire acknowledged “Copy, power lines down.”
The Chico Enterprise-Record reports that PG&E had announced it might shut down power to parts of Butte County on Thursday, but it chose not to do so. The article quotes Cal Fire spokesman Scott McLean who emphasized that the cause is under investigation, but that the probe would include “electrical equipment.”
Northern California Fire Lawyers is a coalition of prominent Northern California law firms: Corey, Luzaich, de Ghetaldi & Riddle, Danko Meredith, and Gibbs Law Group. Our firms consist of seasoned trial lawyers, leading national personal injury attorneys, and experienced complex litigators. Attorneys on our team have been appointed by California judges to serve in leadership positions in a number of large, coordinated fire and disaster cases. We bring a deep knowledge of the systems and fire-prevention policies of major utility companies and are well-positioned to leverage the hard work from our previous cases to benefit our clients.
San Mateo Trial Lawyers Association
Eric Gibbs (sole plaintiffs’ lawyer recognized nationwide)
Finalist, Consumer Attorneys of California
Finalist, Consumer Attorneys of California
Finalist, Consumer Attorneys of California
Martindale-Hubbell – highest class of attorneys for professional ethics and legal skills
Through our experience representing victims of California fires, we’ve seen first hand how challenging it can be to live through a fire. We plan to hold upcoming community informational meetings concerning potential resources.
We are constantly updating our page with links to resources below: