Small Business Administration offers disaster relief after Bolt Creek Fire
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced Thursday they would be offering disaster relief loans to businesses impacted by the Bolt Creek Fire.
On Nov. 29, Gov. Jay Inslee requested the wildfire be declared a disaster by the SBA. The Bolt Creek Fire raged from Sept. 10 until Oct. 21 and burned more than 14,000 acres.
Businesses across the tourist-dependent valley suffered greatly as the fire closed Highway 2 for weeks, with charred trees falling across the road.
Businesses missed out on four weeks of hiking season, as well as some of the annual Oktoberfest in Leavenworth.
The administration offers low-interest federal disaster loans to businesses affected by the fire in Chelan, Island, King, Kitsap, Kittitas, Pierce, Skagit, Snohomish, and Yakima counties.
The loans have an interest rate of 3.04% for small businesses and 1.875% for private nonprofit organizations with terms of up to 30 years.
“SBA’s mission-driven team stands ready to help Washington’s small businesses and residents impacted by the Bolt Creek Wildfire,” said Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman. “We’re committed to providing federal disaster loans swiftly and efficiently, with a customer-centric approach to help businesses and communities recover and rebuild.”
These relief loans can be used to pay off fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that couldn’t be paid due to the disruption to income caused by the fires. This is a hugely important and “vital economic assistance” for small businesses who lost so much during the wildfires, the SBA says.
Eligibility of the loans is based on the financial impacts of the fire and not actual property damage, the SBA clarifies, with the loans focusing specifically on small nonfarm businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture, and most nonprofits.
The loans “are restricted to small businesses without the financial ability to offset the adverse impact without hardship,” the SBA added.
You can find more information on how to know if you are eligible for the loan and how to apply on the SBA’s website.