WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Federal funds have been made available by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help Florida fight four uncontrolled wildfires that pose a threat to populated areas in several parts of the state.
FEMA Director James Lee Witt said the state's request for federal fire suppression aid was approved yesterday evening immediately after learning that the fires were endangering life and property in the following 18 counties: Alachua, Brevard, Collier, Gilchrist, Glades, Hendry, Highland, Indian River, Lee, Levy, Martin, Miliam, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Putnam, St. Lucie and Seminole.
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.
The fires designated for assistance include the Caloosahatchee, Okeechobee, Orlando and Wacasassa fire complexes.
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.