Washington, DC -- Two more uncontrolled multiple wildfires have been added to the list of recent Washington State blazes designated for federal fire suppression funding by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
The assistance requested by the state last weekend was approved immediately after it was reported that populated areas were being threatened by the 22,000-acre Rex Creek Complex Fire in Chelan County and the 20,000-acre Mt. Leona Complex Fire in Ferry County.
According to the agency, approximately 300 homes and a number of historic structures in the town of Stehekin were at risk from the Rex Creek fires, while another 30 residences near the town of Republic were endangered by the Mt. Leona fires. Up to 100 people had been evacuated in the two threatened areas at the time of the request.
The authorizations bring to eight the number of state fires that have been approved for FEMA assistance since late July. Fires previously designated for FEMA funding were the Tonasket Complex Fire in Okanogan County and Spruce Dome Complex Fire in Yakima County (August 16); 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.