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FEMA Authorizes Federal Funds to Help Battle Florida Wildfires

04/28/2011 at 1:12pm
FEMA Authorizes Federal Funds to Help Battle Florida Wildfires

The Sand Paper has learned that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has authorized federal funds to reimburse costs to Florida to fight the Slope Fire in Collier County.

This authorization makes FEMA funding available to reimburse 75 percent of the eligible firefighting costs under an approved grant for managing and controlling the fire. In addition to firefighting, eligible costs can include equipment and supplies, costs for emergency work, police barricading and traffic control.

"FEMA approved these grants to make sure that Florida has the money to fight these fires and save lives, structures and property," said FEMA Regional Administrator Phil May. "Meanwhile, our thoughts and prayers go out to families who've been affected."

The state requested the Fire Management Assistance Grants (FMAG) during the evening of April 27 and they were granted the request at 10:30 p.m. on April 27.

The Slope Fire began on April 26 and at the time of the FMAG request, had burned more than 1,000 acres of State and private land, while threatening more than 1,000 homes. Currently, the fire is less than 25 percent contained and has forced the evacuation of 400 local residents.

Federal fire management assistance is provided through the President's Disaster Relief Fund and made available by FEMA to assist in fighting fires that threaten to cause a major disaster. Eligible state firefighting costs covered by the aid must first meet a minimum threshold for costs before assistance is provided.

Staff Report