OAKLAND, Calif. -- The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), after being contacted by the state, authorized the use of federal funds to help California fight the Bear Fire threatening Mormon Bar in Mariposa County.
Michael D. Brown, under secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response, approved federal fire-management money at 8:13 p.m. last night, less than two hours after receiving a request for assistance from the state.
At the time the firefighting funds were approved for the Bear Fire, approximately 300 homes in Mormon Bar were threatened, and a mandatory evacuation was in effect for the residents of 100 homes. Fueled by grass, brush and timber, the fire also threatened some business structures and the county fairgrounds.
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.