OAKLAND, Calif. -- Within hours of being contacted by the state, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) authorized firefighting funds for three fires burning in Southern California: the Pine fire in Los Angeles County, the Mataguay fire in San Diego County and the Lake View fire in Riverside County.
Michael D. Brown, under secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response, approved the request for federal fire management assistance for the Pine fire at 1:47 a.m. EDT, the Mataguay fire at 1:50 a.m. EDT, and the Lake View fire at 1:52 a.m. EDT. The state made the requests simultaneously.
The Pine fire involves 4,500 acres and threatens the communities of Three Point, Happy Valley and Pine Grove and a communications tower. Eight hundred people left their homes for safety and a rehabilitation Center voluntarily evacuated 250 people. The fire is near 50 homes in the Three Point area.
The 2,000-acre Mataguay fire is threatening Mantaguay Boy Scout Camp and the community of Ranchita. Under mandatory evacuation, 250 people from the camp and another 250 people from the community left the area for safety.
The 350-acre Lake View fire is threatening a population of 15,000 in Wildomar and Menifee. Three schools are in the path of the fire that destroyed two mobile homes and damaged a nursery. One hundred people were asked to evacuate and another 100 people voluntarily evacuated the area in danger.
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.