Washington, D.C.-- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) authorized, within 45 minutes of being contacted by the state, the use of federal funds to help New Jersey fight an uncontrolled wildfire burning in Ocean County.
FEMA Director Joe M. Allbaugh approved the state's request for federal fire management assistance last night after it was confirmed the fire included up to 1,400 acres of pinelands, and forcing the evacuation of more than 100 homes and the Crystal Lake convalescent center. The path of the fire destroyed or damaged numerous homes, and also forced the temporary closure of the Garden State Parkway during the overnight hours.
"FEMA is committed to assisting our nation's firefighters in getting them the resources they need to quickly extinguish these fires that threaten people's lives and property," 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 Double Trouble wildfire is the first to be designated for New Jersey 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.