Fire Management Assistance Grant declarations operate on a 24-hour real-time basis and are frequently conducted over the telephone with written follow-up. The Governor of a State or the Governor’s Authorized Representative submits a request for a fire management assistance declaration to the Regional Administrator (RA) while the fire is burning uncontrolled and threatening such destruction as would constitute a major disaster. The RA gathers the State’s information, and calls upon a Principal Advisor for a technical assessment of the fire. Using all available data and information, the RA develops a Regional summary and recommendation, and makes a decision to approve or deny the declaration request.
The request is approved or denied based on:
- The conditions that existed at the time of the request;
- Whether or not the fire or fire complex threatens such destruction as would constitute a major disaster.
Four criteria are used to evaluate the threat posed by a fire or fire complex:
- Threat to lives and improved property, including threats to critical facilities/infrastructure, and critical watershed areas;
- Availability of State and local firefighting resources;
- High fire danger conditions, as indicated by nationally accepted indices such as the National Fire Danger Ratings System;
- Potential major economic impact.
Following the Regional Administrator’s decision, the Region contacts the State to inform of approval or denial. Once a determination is rendered, the Regional Point Of Contact (POC) provides a summary email of the declaration facts to the Regional Administrator and other FEMA leadership.
The Fire Management Assistance Grant Program (FMAGP) provide a 75 percent Federal cost share for actual eligible costs incurred.
Fire Cost Threshold
Before an initial grant award to the State under a FMAGP declaration can be approved, the State must demonstrate that total eligible costs for the declared fire meet or exceed either the individual fire cost threshold, which is applied to a single fire, or the cumulative fire cost threshold, which recognizes numerous smaller fires burning throughout a State. Under the cumulative fire cost threshold, assistance will only be provided for the declared fire responsible for meeting or exceeding the cumulative fire cost threshold and any future declared fires for that calendar year.
The individual fire cost threshold for a State is the greater of:
- $100,000, or
- Five percent x $1.30* x the State population.
*Fiscal Year (FY) 2011. This dollar amount is adjusted annually for inflation using the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers published by the Department of Labor.
The cumulative fire cost threshold for a State is the greater of the following:
- $500,000; or
- Three times the five percent x $1.30* x the State population.
*FY 2011. This dollar amount is adjusted annually for inflation using the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers published by the Department of Labor.
- States and Indian tribal governments may act as the Grantee
- State, Indian tribal, and local entities may apply to the Grantee for subgrants
All eligible work and related costs must be associated with the incident period of a declared fire. FMAGP eligible work directly related to the declared fire is documented into two general categories:
- Category B – (Emergency Protective Measures): Limited assistance provided under Section 403 of the Stafford Act; and
- Category H – (Fire-fighting Activities): Eligible work associated with fire-related activities provided under Section 420 of the Stafford Act,
Eligible work performed must be:
- The legal responsibility of the applicant, whether it was performed by the applicant’s own agents or through a secondary party as described in the preceding paragraphs;
- Required as a result of the declared fire; and
- Located within the designated area.
Eligible costs include, but are not limited to the following:
- Equipment and supplies;
- Labor costs;
- Travel and per diem;
- Temporary repairs of damage caused by firefighting activities;
- Mobilization and demobilization; and
- Limited Pre-positioning costs approved by the Regional Administrator.
Appeal of Denied Declaration Request
If FEMA denies the State’s request for a declaration, the State has one opportunity to appeal the denial. The appeal must be submitted in writing to the Regional Administrator (RA) no later than thirty (30) days from the date of the letter informing the State of the denial. The appeal should contain any additional information that strengthens the State’s original request for assistance.
The RA will review the appeal, prepare a recommendation, and forward the appeal package to the FEMA Headquarters Office. The FEMA Headquarters Office notifies the State of its determination, in writing, within ninety (90) days of receipt of the appeal, or receipt of the additional requested information.
Appeal of Grant Eligibility
A Grantee or subgrantee may appeal any grant-related determination made by FEMA, including determinations on applicant eligibility, work eligibility, and cost eligibility.