ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Yesterday evening, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) authorized the use of federal funds to help Alaska fight the Parks Highway (Tamarack) Fire burning south of Fairbanks, in the Yukon-Koyukuk REAA.
Federal Emergency Management Agency Director R. David Paulison said the state's request for federal fire management assistance was approved after it was confirmed that the fire had threatened more than 100 homes, which resulted in the evacuation of 50 residents. The fire was approximately 1.5 miles from the town of Nenana, had consumed more than 3,000 acres of State and private land at the time of the grant request on June 8, 2006, and was described as burning out of control, with zero containment. The aid was approved the same evening, at 5:10 pm EDT.
"This declaration is the first step towards enabling the state and local governments to apply for financial help," said Paulison. "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.
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 manages federal response and recovery efforts following national incidents. FEMA also initiates mitigation activities, works with state and local emergency managers, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.