Washington, D.C.-- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) authorized the use of federal funds to help Arizona fight the outbreak of an uncontrolled wildfire burning in Santa Cruz County within 30 minutes of being contacted by the state.
FEMA Director Joe M. Allbaugh approved the state's request for federal fire management assistance last night after it was reported that the Ryan fire posed a threat to 375 residences in the communities of Elgin and Westgate. The blaze, which started last Monday, had consumed 9,000 acres and forced the evacuation of 200 people at the time of the request.
"Through close cooperation with the state of Arizona we were able quickly provide this support to the fire services fighting this dangerous fire and are proud of the outstanding work they are doing to contain it," Allbaugh said.
Under the authorization, FEMA will pay 75 percent of the state's eligible firefighting costs under an approved grant for managing, mitigating and controlling designated fires.
The Ryan fire is the first to be designated for Arizona this year under the Federal Fire Management Assistance Program. FEMA recently streamlined the rules for the program to better support state and local firefighting efforts.
Federal fire management assistance 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.