Washington, DC -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has made federal funds available to help fight two more uncontrolled multiple wildfires in Washington State, bringing to six the number of state fires designated for assistance in the last three weeks.
The state's latest requests for federal fire suppression aid were approved late last night after it was reported that populated areas were being threatened by the 1,500-acre Tonasket Complex Fire in Okanogan County and the 500-acre Spruce Dome Complex Fire in Yakima County.
According to the agency, 50 homes in the town of Tonasket were at risk from the Tonasket fires, while another 100 dwellings in the community of Cowiche were endangered by the Spruce Dome fires. Evacuations were underway in the Cowiche area at the time of the request.
State fires previously designated for FEMA assistance were the Icicle Complex Fire in Chelan County (August 14); the Brewster and Virginia Lakes Complex Fires in Okanogan County (August 14); and the Union Valley fire in Chelan County (July 28).
Under the authorizations, FEMA is paying 70 percent of the state's eligible firefighting costs that are above $1,061,941. 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.