Washington, DC -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has authorized the use of federal funds to help South Dakota fight the uncontrolled Elk Mountain II fire located in Custer County.
According to the agency, the state's request for federal fire suppression aid was approved early this morning after it was reported that the fire posed a threat to approximately 170 homes in three Custer County subdivisions. The fire, which broke out last Monday, had burned more than 6,000 acres of land and forced the evacuation of 35 people at the time of the request.
Under the authorization, FEMA will pay 70 percent of the state's eligible firefighting costs that are above $59,754. 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.