Washington, D.C.-- For the fourth time this week, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has acted to help battle a wildfire outbreak in Colorado. Once again, moving quickly when it became clear the fire was becoming a threat to lives and property, FEMA authorized the use of federal funds within five hours to assist the state in battling the Ute Pass fire in La Plata County.
FEMA Director Joe M. Allbaugh approved the latest assistance for federal fire management when it became clear the Ute Pass fire was reported to be dangerously close to the subdivisions of Edgemont Ranch and Durango Hills. Thus far the fire has caused the evacuation of 200 residents from 140 homes in the area.
"Protecting lives and properties, the local first responders are aggressively fighting these fires, and it's important we let them know the Bush administration is committed to helping them during this dry fire season," said Allbaugh.
The authorization makes FEMA funding available to pay 75 percent of the state's eligible firefighting costs under an approved grant for managing, mitigating and controlling designated fires. FEMA firefighting assistance was previously authorized this year for the Snaking fire in Park County on April 23, the Cuerna Verde fire in Custer County on May 1, the Black Mountain fire in Park County on May 5, the Schoonover fire in Douglas County on May 23, the Iron Mountain fire in Fremont County on June 2, and the Spring and the James John/Fisher fires in Las Animas County on June 3.
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.