ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has authorized the use of federal funds to help the State of Alaska fight the Mile 17 East End Road Fire burning in the Kenai Peninsula Borough.
FEMA Acting Regional Administrator Dennis Hunsinger said the state's request for federal fire management assistance was approved after it was confirmed that the fire was threatening 70 homes near the communities of Voznesenka and Kachemak Selo. The fire, which started on 12 May 2009, had burned 1,500 acres of federal, state and private land, and threatened three schools and a transmission line.
"This declaration is the first step towards enabling the state and local governments to apply for financial help," said Hunsinger. "We are committed to getting our communities the funds they need to extinguish dangerous fires that threaten lives and property." Hunsinger encouraged all affected residents to monitor conditions carefully and heed safety instruction issued by local officials.
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 leads and supports the nation in a risk-based, comprehensive emergency management system of preparedness, protection, response, recovery, and mitigation, to reduce the loss of life and property and protect the nation from all hazards including natural disasters, acts of terrorism and man-made disasters