WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is working side-by-side with state officials and other federal partners engaged in the response to the multiple wildfires burning across Southern California. FEMA has remained committed to supporting California's response by coordinating with federal and non-governmental partners. ??
The President today issued an Emergency disaster declaration for California and ordered greater federal aid to supplement state and local response activities in the affected areas. FEMA Administrator David Paulison said federal resources began mobilizing as early as Sunday, October 21, and authorized federal funds to reimburse the state for certain costs incurred under FEMA's Fire Management Assistance Grant Program (FMAG).
"The Safety of the firefighters, individuals and families in the impacted areas is of utmost concern," said Paulison.
Citizens in the affected area are urged to listen for messages from state and local emergency officials and be aware of evacuation and sheltering orders in their communities.
To date, FEMA has responded to the state's emergency needs by coordinating the federal response in the following ways:
Within hours after the state requested them, FEMA approved seven requests for FMAGs.? Under those grants, FEMA pays for 75 percent of the state's eligible fire-fighting costs.? Some of those eligible costs include cost for equipment, supplies, and emergency work like evacuations, shelters, and traffic control.
FEMA opened a Joint Field Office in Pasadena on Monday, October 22, 2007 to coordinate federal, state, tribal and local response operations throughout Southern California.
FEMA has identified and established a staging area in Southern California in order to mobilize necessary federal assets as identified for emergency operations across the state.
A federal Emergency Response Team has been identified and staged to deploy as necessary to assist California as needed.
FEMA opened its Regional Response Coordination Center on a 24/7 basis to support state operations.? The interagency center is comprised of federal agencies including the Department of the Interior, Department of Transportation, United States Forest Service, United States Army Corps of Engineers, Department of Health and Human Services, and The Department of Homeland Security's Infrastructure Protection.
FEMA's National Response Coordination Center was activated to coordinate the national federal interagency response in support of regional and statewide activities.
FEMA has sent a liaison to the State Emergency Operations Center in Sacramento to work with the state's response and recovery staff to compile information on the fires and ensure that any request is expedited and the right resources are sent to the right places. A FEMA liaison is also coordinating response efforts with the California Wild Land Fire Services in Riverside County.
Other federal assets employed to assist California include the Department of Defense and the National Guard Bureau, the Department of Transportation, U.S. Fire Service, General Services Administration, Health and Human Services, Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Coast Guard.
Some of the federal and nongovernmental assets active in the response include:
The American Red Cross
Red Cross activities are focusing on sheltering efforts, with shelters open in ...