Oakland, CA -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) authorized, within hours of being contacted by the state, the use of federal funds to help Nevada fight the uncontrolled fire burning in Douglas County near Topaz Lake.
FEMA Director Joe M. Allbaugh approved the state's request for federal fire management assistance on July 15 after confirming that the Gate Complex fire threatened populated areas in the communities of Topaz, Palmer, Holbrook and Double Springs. The fire, started by a lightening strike on Friday, July 12, approximately five miles north of Walker, Calif., has burned 10,560 acres and currently threatens 250 residences and 25 commercial buildings. There has been a mandatory evacuation of 500 residents of Topaz and Palmer.
"FEMA is committed to assisting our nation's firefighters in getting them the resources they need to quickly extinguish this fire that threatens people's lives and property," Allbaugh said.
This authorization marks the third time this year that FEMA firefighting funds have been made available for Nevada. Fires previously designated for assistance included the Gondola fire in Douglas County on July 3 and the Pioche fire in Lincoln County on June 9.
Federal fire management assistance is provided through the President's Disaster Relief Fund and made available by FEMA to assist in fighting wildfires that threaten to cause a major disaster. The assistance pays 75 percent of a state's eligible firefighting costs for managing, mitigating and controlling designated wildfires.
Eligible state firefighting costs covered by the aid can include expenses for field camps, equipment, repair and replacement tools, materials and supplies, and mobilization and demobilization activities.
FEMA is the federal agency that coordinates response efforts to federal disasters. The agency's 10 regional offices work directly with the states to help plan for disasters, develop mitigation programs and meet needs when disasters occur. FEMA Region IX serves the states of Arizona, California, Hawaii and Nevada, as well as the territories of American Samoa and Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia.