OAKLAND, Calif. -- The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has authorized firefighting funds to help fight the uncontrolled Armstrong fire within hours of being contacted by the state. The Armstrong fire poses a threat to three towns, Avery, Arnold and Hathaway Pines, in Calaveras County, California.
Michael D. Brown, under secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response, approved the request for federal fire management assistance for the Armstrong fire today at 4:17 a.m. EDT. The request was made by the state at 2:00 a.m. EDT. Seventy homes are threatened and more than 150 people were evacuated from the area.
The Armstrong fire has consumed more than 800 acres and its growth potential is high. The Armstrong fire is also 20 miles east of another fire, the Copper Fire.
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 the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.