Oakland, CA - The U.S. Department of Homeland Security?s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) swiftly made federal funds available to help fight the 1,400-acre Bridge fire, threatening the community of Running Springs east of Los Angeles in San Bernardino County, California.
Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response Michael D. Brown, who heads FEMA, approved the request for federal fire management assistance today at 4:20 a.m. EDT. At that time, the fire posed an immediate threat to 1,200 homes in the area of California's San Bernardino National Forest and caused the evacuation of 2,000 people. The state made the request at 2:40 a.m. EDT.
The authorization is the seventh granted to the state of California this year. FEMA firefighting assistance was previously authorized for the Locus Fire in Riverside County on August 19, the Canyon fire in Riverside County on July 25, the Railroad fire near Lake Elsinore on July 3, the Tejon fire in Kern County on June 29, the Sawmill fire in Kern County on June 28 and the Pacific fire in Los Angeles County on January 7.
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 and emergency response 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.
On March 1, 2003, FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. FEMA's continuing mission within the new department is to lead the effort to prepare the nation for all hazards and effectively manage federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates proactive mitigation activities, trains first responders, and manages Citizen Corps, the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.