Washington, DC -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has made federal funds available to help Florida battle another outbreak of uncontrolled wildfires burning in the counties of Dixie and Lafayette.
According to the agency, federal fire suppression aid requested by the state was approved last night after it was reported that the Perry Complex Fire, consisting of 11 fires, posed an immediate threat to more than 300 homes and forced the evacuation of an estimated 150 to 200 residents in the communities of Hatchbend, Governor's Hill Lake and Pickett Lake. The fires, which started last Tuesday, had consumed 12,000 acres of land at the time of the request.
The authorization is the third granted to the state since last week and the ninth for this year. Florida fires previously designated for assistance were the Escambia Complex Fire in Escambia County (May 16); the Chipola River Complex Fire in Walton and Washington counties (May 15); the Everglades Complex Fire in Miami-Dade and Monroe counties (April 25); the Myakka Complex Fire in Charlotte, Desoto, Hardee, Manatee and Sarasota counties (April 18); the Orlando Complex Fire in Brevard, Orange and Osceola counties (April 17); the Caloosahatchee Complex Fire in Collier, Hendry and Lee counties (February 19); the Okeechobee Complex Fire in Glades, Highlands, Indian River, Martin, Okeechobee and St. Lucie counties (February 19); and the Lakeland Complex Fire in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Polk counties (February 18).
Under the authorizations, FEMA is paying 70 percent of the state's eligible firefighting costs that are above $1,520,356. The figure, called a floor cost, is derived through a formula based on the state's five-year annual average cost for fighting fires.
Federal fire suppression aid 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 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.