Oakland, CA -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency for the second time today has authorized the use of federal funds to help fight an uncontrolled wildfire, this time the Leona fire burning in Los Angeles County, Calif., 12 miles west of Palmdale.
FEMA Director Joe M. Allbaugh approved the state's request for federal fire management assistance at 8:30 a.m. EDT after confirming that the Leona fire threatened the communities of Leona Valley, Quartz Hill, Ritter Ranch and Lost Valley, about 500 homes. The 3,200-acre fire has destroyed three or four homes and forced the mandatory evacuation of 200 people from Leona Valley and Lost Valley. One injury is related to the fire.
"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 authorization is the ninth granted to the state for this year. FEMA firefighting assistance was previously authorized for the Squirrel fire in Shasta County, the Pines fire in San Diego County on July 30, the Deer fire in Kern County on July 22; the Louisiana fire in San Bernardino County on June 27; the Blue Cut fire in San Bernardino County on June 17; 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.
FEMA is the federal agency that coordinates response efforts to federally declared disasters. The agency's 10 regional offices work directly with states to plan for and respond to disasters, develop mitigation programs and meet public needs when disasters happen. 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.