Washington, D.C. -- Federal funds have been made available by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help Tennessee fight uncontrolled wildfires that pose a threat to populated areas in the counties of Anderson and Sevier.
The state's request for federal fire suppression aid was approved last night when it was reported that the Knoxville Fire Complex, consisting of 136 fires, was endangering 200 homes in Sevier County and another 100 in Anderson County. At the time of the request, the fires had consumed 8,800 acres of land and were forcing the evacuation of residents in the city of Pigeon Forge.
Under the authorization, FEMA will pay 70 percent of the state's eligible firefighting costs that are above $451,478. 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.