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Gov. Jan Brewer, President Barack Obama meet on Yarnell assistance

PHOENIX — President Barack Obama met with Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer Tuesday to discuss federal aid for those affected by the Yarnell Hill wildfire.

Brewer asked Obama to declare an emergency situation in June, after the fire claimed the lives of 19 hotshots and destroyed about 20 percent of homes in Yarnell, Ariz.

Andrew Wilder, the governor’s spokesman, said Brewer pressed the president on
her disaster declaration request for the Yarnell Hill fire near Prescott.

Nineteen firefighters died battling the blaze on June 30, and Brewer has been
waiting for a response from Obama to her request since mid-July.

“She reminded him that it’s been nearly a month. He assured her that he would
look into it,” Wilder told The Arizona Republic.

Approval would bring 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.

Wilder added that Brewer described her meeting Tuesday with Obama as “cordial
and positive all around.”

Obama was in Phoenix to discuss the nation’s housing situation.

He proposed to overhaul the nation’s mortgage finance system, including shutting down government-backed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac- a plan with bipartisan support on Capitol Hill.

Obama also insisted that popular 30-year mortgages be widely available to borrowers, even in a system that would rely more on the private sector than the government to guarantee loans.

This contrasts the last time when Obama was in Phoenix in 2012, when he and Brewer were involved in a tense conversation that included the infamous “finger-pointing” incident.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.