Washington, DC -- Federal funds have been made available by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help Florida battle another outbreak of uncontrolled wildfires located in the counties of Clay, Duval and Nassau.
FEMA Director James Lee Witt said the aid requested by the state was approved late last week after the agency was informed that the Jacksonville Fire Complex was threatening 100 homes and caused the evacuation of 300 residents in the community of Keystone Heights in Clay County.
The action marks the eighth time that Florida has been authorized for FEMA fire suppression aid this year. Under the authorizations, the state's eligible firefighting costs will be funded at 70 percent federal share once a floor cost of $1,520,356 has been met. The floor cost is derived through a formula based on the state's five-year annual average cost for fighting fires.
Other Florida fires previously approved for the assistance were the Waccasassa Fire Complex in Alachua, Gilchrist, Levy, Marion and Putnam counties (May 29); the Orlando District Fire Complex in Brevard, Orange and Osceola counties (May 28); the Bunnell Fire Complex in Flagler, St. Johns and Volusia counties (May 28); the Lakeland District Fire Complex in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Polk counties (May 20); the Withlacootchee Fire Complex in Citrus, Hernando, Lake, Pasco and Sumter counties (May 19); the Flowers Myakka Fire Complex in Sarasota County (May 16); and the Merritt Fire in Collier County (April 11).
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.