SEATTLE, Wash. -- The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) early Sunday morning authorized the use of federal funds to help the State of Washington fight the "School" Fire burning in Garfield and Columbia Counties.
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 at 3:45 a.m. EDT, Sunday, August 7, 2005, after it was confirmed that the fire was threatening over 176 structures near the Idaho border. The fire has consumed 32,000 acres and forced the evacuation of 600 residents from 150 homes.
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. 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. 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 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.