Washington, D.C.-- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) today authorized the use of federal funds to help South Carolina fight the outbreak of an uncontrolled wildfire threatening populated areas in Horry County.
FEMA Director Joe M. Allbaugh approved the state's request for federal fire management assistance immediately after it was confirmed that the 1,600-acre Legends fire was endangering 3,000 homes in seven subdivisions near Myrtle Beach. Twenty-five businesses and two utilities also were being threatened by the blaze that broke out late last week and caused the evacuation of 1,200 people at the time of the request.
"These fires are a serious threat to life and property," Allbaugh said. "FEMA is committed to ensuring that our nation's firefighters have the resources they need to quickly contain them before people are injured and homes are lost."
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 Legends fire is the first to be designated for South Carolina 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 that 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.