Washington, D.C.-- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has again moved swiftly to help California fight another wildfire outbreak, authorizing the use of federal funds in less than two hours of being contacted by the state of the threat posed by the Blue Cut fire to populated areas in San Bernardino County.
FEMA Director Joe M. Allbaugh approved the state's latest request for federal fire management assistance last night after it was reported that the blaze posed an imminent threat to 500 homes in the communities of Oak Hill, Summit Estates and Baldy Mesa. The 7,000-acre fire was burning on both sides of Interstate 15 in the Cajon Pass at the time of the request.
"It's important for firefighters in California and elsewhere to know that they will continue to have the support of the federal government in their battles to save lives and protect property during this extremely dangerous fire season," Allbaugh said.
The action marks the fourth time this year that FEMA firefighting assistance has been made available to the state. The aid was previously authorized for the Copper fire in Los Angeles County on June 6, the Antonio fire in Orange County on May 14, and the Gavilan fire in San Diego County on February 11.
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. The assistance pays 75 percent of a state's eligible firefighting costs under an approved grant for managing, mitigating and controlling designated fires.
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.