WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has authorized the use of federal funds to help Arizona fight the Edge Complex burning in Maricopa and Gila counties in the Tonto National Forest.
Michael D. Brown, Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response, said the state’s request for federal fire management assistance was approved after it was confirmed that the fire threatened hundreds of homes and property in the Punkin Center subdivision. Another 15 to 20 homes in the small community of Sunflower and a telecommunications site on Mount Ord were also in the fire’s path. Three hundred homes in Punkin Center were evacuated Thursday night; others may face evacuation today.
Lightening started the fire on July 15; more lightening on Thursday worsened the situation. Arizona’s request for assistance was submitted to FEMA at 9:30 a.m. today and approved by FEMA an hour later at 10:47 a.m. The fire has consumed 60,000 acres. This is the sixth fire assistance declaration for Arizona this year, a record number for that state at this time of year.
"These declarations are the first step towards enabling the state and local governments to apply for financial help," said Brown. “We are committed to getting our firefighters the funds they need to extinguish dangerous fires that threaten lives and property.”
The authorization makes FEMA funding available to pay 75 percent of the state’s eligible firefighting costs under an approved grant for managing, mitigating and controlling designated fires.
ment 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. Eligible state firefighting costs covered by the aid must first meet a minimum threshold for costs before assistance is provided. Eligible 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.
FEMA prepares the nation for all hazards and manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates proactive mitigation activities, trains first responders, works with state and local emergency managers, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.