SEATTLE, Wash. -- The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) today authorized the use of federal funds to help Oregon State fight the South County Fire Complex burning near Ashland and Medford, Oregon. The South County Fire Complex consists of the previously named Siskiyou Boulevard Fire located near Ashland and the Deer Ridge Fire located near Medford.
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 threatens property and public infrastructure. Two hundred homes are threatened by Siskiyou and 200 by Deer Ridge. A major county communications center is threatened on Roxy Ann Mountain east of Medford, as well as a major power transmission line. A Red Cross shelter for evacuees has been set up at the Ashland Armory on Oak Street. In addition to 400 homes and other buildings being threatened, 40 commercial buildings and two schools are also at risk. The fire had consumed more than 700 acres at the time of the request.
"It's critical that the men and women who selflessly battle wildfires know they will continue to have the support of the federal government. This declaration is one demonstration of that support," Hunsinger said.
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's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.