Fire victims to receive help at Thursday workshop

BEAUMONT, Calif. - Property owners who suffered losses in recent wildfires in the Banning Pass are being offered the opportunity to take advantage of fee waivers and other recovery-related assistance, which will be outlined during a workshop Thursday in Beaumont.

Riverside County Supervisors Marion Ashley and Jeff Stone will host the 6 p.m. workshop at Beaumont City Hall, 550 E. Sixth St.

Representatives from the county's Office of Emergency Services, the fire department and other agencies are expected to be on hand to answer questions and speak one-on-one with residents.

The main topic: fee waivers approved last week by the Board of Supervisors.

After learning that many residents impacted by the Mountain and Silver fires may not have adequate insurance coverage, the board decided to temporarily suspend fees for building and development permits, as well as fees charged for landfill access, for the benefit of fire victims.

The Mountain Fire began July 15 near state Routes 74 and 243, south of Idyllwild, scorching 27,500 acres, destroying seven homes and a dozen other structures before it was fully contained on July 30. The blaze was ignited by electrical equipment that caught fire on private property, according to county officials.

The Silver Fire broke out south of Banning on Aug. 7 and blackened 20,292 acres on both sides of Highway 243 over six days before being fully contained. Twenty-six homes were destroyed and another 25 structures were damaged by the flames. The cause remains under investigation.

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