Washington, DC -- Federal funds have been made available by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help Florida fight the uncontrolled Merritt fire located in Collier County.
FEMA Director James Lee Witt said the state's request for federal fire suppression aid was approved late yesterday after learning that the blaze was endangering more than 500 homes and forced the evacuation of 100 residents of Golden Gate Estates located about 15 miles northeast of Naples, Fla. The fire, which broke out last Saturday, had burned 9,400 acres of land at the time of the request.
Under the authorization, FEMA will pay 70 percent of the state's eligible firefighting costs that are above $1,520,356. The figure, called a 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.