OAKLAND, Calif. -- The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) today authorized federal funds to help fight another fire in California: the Foothill fire near Newhall in Los Angeles County. More than 900 personnel are assigned to fight this fire that is burning dry grass and chaparral in difficult terrain.
Michael D. Brown, under secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response, approved the request for federal fire management assistance for the Foothill fire at 12:56 p.m. EDT. The request, the second one approved for California during the past 8 hours, was made by the state at 12:45 a.m. EDT. The Melton fire in Riverside County was approved earlier today.
The 3,000-acre Foothill fire, which started on Saturday, July 17, 2004, is threatening 80 to 90 houses, two businesses, a county nature center and a Southern California Edison power line. There is a mandatory evacuation in progress for 250 people.
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.