Washington, DC -- Federal funds were made available today by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help Florida fight the uncontrolled Orlando Fire Complex burning in the counties of Brevard, Orange and Osceola.
The state's request for federal fire suppression aid was approved this afternoon immediately after learning that the fire complex, consisting of six blazes, was endangering 400 homes and had forced the evacuation of at least 200 residents in the community of Bay Lake Estates. The fires, which broke out yesterday, had burned 5,400 acres of land at the time of the request.
FEMA firefighting assistance was previously authorized for the state in February this year for the Lakeland Fire Complex in the counties of Hillsborough, Pinellas and Polk; the Caloosahatchee Fire Complex in the counties of Collier, Hendry and Lee; and the Okeechobee Fire Complex in the counties of Glades, Highlands, Indian River, Martin, Okeechobee and St. Lucie.
Under the authorizations, FEMA is paying 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.