Oakland, CA -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has swiftly authorized the use of federal funds tonight to fight the Waikoloa Village Fire burning on the big island of Hawaii in the Hawaiian Islands.
"This declaration is the first step towards enabling the state and local governments to apply for financial help," said Michael D. Brown, FEMA director and undersecretary for the Emergency Preparedness and Response Directorate, a part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. "We are committed to getting our firefighters the funds they need to extinguish dangerous fires that threaten people's lives and property."
Brown approved the state's request for federal fire management assistance at 11:05 p.m., EST, within two hours after confirming that the fire threatened approximately 50 homes. The Waikoloa Village Fire, which started Sunday, May 18, at 10:00 a.m., Hawaii/Aleutian Time, burned more than 400 acres. Eight homes were evacuated.
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 and local 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.
All Hawaii residents should check their homes for fire safety and ensure that they have defensible space around their property. For more information, check with your local fire department, the Hawaii Office of Civil Defense and the FEMA Web site at www.fema.gov.