KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Wildland fires in the south central region affecting over 15,000 acres will become Missouri's first application for a Fire Suppression Grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency according to John A. Miller, FEMA Region VII director in Kansas City. "FEMA approved the state's request for the assistance as the fires began threatening homes," Miller announced.
"Fire Suppression Grants are available when fire threatens life or improved property," said Miller. "We approved this grant based on the state's request because it was threatening some 200 homes in Camden County. "Local firefighters were assisted by firefighters from 31 fire departments and the Missouri Department of Conservation.
"In addition to the Department of Conservation's fire fighting efforts, the quick reaction from the fire mutual aid fire departments and the 480 volunteer firemen was critical to containing the fires in the nine county region," Jerry B. Uhlmann, director of State Emergency Management Agency, said.
"When the state expenses for any single eligible wildland fire exceed $55,895 FEMA will reimburse 70 percent of additional costs incurred by the state for that fire and for subsequent fires that are declared eligible by FEMA," Miller explained.
The figure, called a floor cost, is derived through a formula based on the state's five-year annual average cost for fighting fires.
"Grants are authorized on a fire-by-fire basis while they are threatening structures. We consider factors such as fire location, its threat to life and property as well as fire behavior, state and local resources, and the number of fires in the same area," he added.
"The Camden County fire is one of several wildland blazes that started this week-end. The grants represent a partnership between the state and federal government," Miller added.
Federal fire suppression aid is provided through the President's Disaster Relief Fund to assist in fighting fires when they threaten to cause a major disaster. Eligible state fire fighting 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.