OAKLAND, Calif. -- The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has made available federal funds to help fight California’s French and Lake Fires in Shasta County.
Michael D. Brown, under secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response, approved the latest request for federal fire management assistance for the fires on Saturday evening, August 14, 2004, at 8:30 p.m., PDT, shortly after two separate requests from the state. Both fires were threatening hundreds of homes.
The French Fire, named after the historic gold rush town through which it raged, caused the evacuation of the town’s entire population of 350 at the time the FEMA firefighting money was approved. Meanwhile, the town of Buckeye and the city of Shasta Lake were in danger from the Lake Fire; a mandatory evacuation forced approximately 500 people from their 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 the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.