Washington, DC -- Federal funds were authorized today by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help Florida fight the uncontrolled Chipola River Complex Fire located in Walton and Washington counties.
According to the agency, the state's request for federal fire suppression aid was approved this afternoon after it was reported that the wildfires had burned 1,400 acres of land and posed an immediate threat to 215 homes and a 1,200-bed prison facility.
The authorization is the seventh granted to the state since the beginning of this year. Florida fires previously designated for assistance were the Everglades Complex Fire in Miami-Dade and Monroe counties (April 25); the Myakka Complex Fire in Charlotte, Desoto, Hardee, Manatee and Sarasota counties (April 18); the Orlando Complex Fire in Brevard, Orange and Osceola counties (April 17); the Caloosahatchee Complex Fire in Collier, Hendry and Lee counties (February 19); the Okeechobee Complex Fire in Glades, Highlands, Indian River, Martin, Okeechobee and St. Lucie counties (February 19); and the Lakeland Complex Fire in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Polk counties (February 18).
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.