SALEM, Ore. -- The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) last night authorized the use of federal funds to help Oregon fight the Black Crater Fire, burning in the Deschutes National Forest near Sisters, Oregon.
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 was threatening more than 204 homes, and from 350 to 400 businesses. The Black Creek Fire triggered mandatory evacuations of 496 residents, with 1,033 more under standby evacuation at the time of the grant request (July 27, 10:29 p.m. ET).
“It's critical that the men and women who selflessly battle wildfires know they will continue to have the support of the federal government,” said Paulison. “This declaration is one demonstration of that support."
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.