WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Federal funds were made available today by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help Tennessee battle uncontrolled wildfires that are endangering populated areas in the counties of Grundy, Marion and Sequatchie.
FEMA Director James Lee Witt said the state's request for federal fire suppression aid was approved late this afternoon when it was reported that the fires, known as the Cagle Mountain Fire Complex, had burned 3,000 acres of land and posed an immediate threat to at least 35 homes in the three-county area.
Under the authorization, FEMA will pay 70 percent of the state's eligible firefighting costs once the state's floor cost has been met. The floor cost is derived through a formula based on the state's five-year annual average cost for fighting fires.
Federal fire suppression aid is provided through the President's Disaster Relief Fund and made available by FEMA to assist in fighting fires when they threaten to cause a major disaster. Eligible state firefighting costs covered by the aid can include expenses for field camps; equipment use, repair and replacement; tools, materials and supplies; and mobilization and demobilization activities.