Oakland, CA -- Less than two hours after learning that the Spooner Fire* threatened homes and businesses in an area along U.S. Route 50 on the outskirts of Carson City, Nevada, Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response Michael D. Brown immediately made federal funds available to help defray the firefighting costs.
"We want the state to be able to concentrate on what is of paramount importance: combating these fires," Brown said. "The dedicated men and women who fight these fires should not have to worry about how the work will be paid for."
Brown approved the state's first request for federal fire management assistance in 2003 at 9:40 p.m. EDT after the blaze had consumed 400 acres and posed an imminent threat to 35 to 50 homes and up to 12 businesses. The request was made at 7:42 p.m. EDT.
The Spooner Fire* is now burning over 1,180 acres in an area identified as Voltaire Canyon along U.S. Route 50. The fire has caused the evacuation of two homes and a girl's youth camp, and others are on alert.
Federal fire management assistance is provided through the President's Disaster Relief Fund and made available by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security 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.
* This fire was later designated as Highway-50 Fire.