OAKLAND, Calif. -- The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) today made available federal funds to help fight California's Melton fire burning five miles south of Hemet in Riverside County. The Melton fire has burned more than 2,000 acres and currently has 423 total personnel assigned to contain it.
Michael D. Brown, under secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response, approved the latest request for federal fire management assistance for the Melton fire at 4:21 a.m. EDT. The request, the fifth one approved for California during the past seven days, was made by the state at 12:45 a.m. EDT.
The Melton fire, which started on Saturday, July 17, 2004, is threatening about 500 residences, 70 commercial properties and 250 other buildings in the Sage area. The fire has caused the evacuation of more than 1,000 people and destroyed two mobile homes.
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.