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Federal funds authorized to help fight Saddle Mountain Fire

Release date: 
July 20, 2014
Release Number: 

Seattle, WA - The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has authorized the use of federal funds to help with firefighting costs for the Saddle Mountain Fire, burning in Kittitas County, Washington.

FEMA Region X Regional Administrator, Kenneth D. Murphy determined that the Saddle Mountain Fire threatened such destruction as would constitute a major disaster.  Murphy approved the state’s request for federal Fire Management Assistance Grant (FMAG) on July 19, 2014 at 10:43 a.m. PDT.

On July 19, 2014, the State of Washington submitted a request for a fire management assistance declaration for the Saddle Mountain Fire, burning in Kittitas County.  At the time of the request, 5 homes had been burned, 80 homes were threatened and about 90 people had evacuated the area.  One shelter in the Kittitas School District was operating around the clock at the time of the request.  The fire has reached the Wanapum Dam and Priest Rapids Dam, both hydropower facilities, and three (3) main power transmission lines, which provides power to the City of Yakama, population of nearly 93,000, and to southeast Washington State.  The fire is also threatening the Kittitas Valley Community Hospital.  The fire has damaged or threatened the Ginko Petrified Forest, multiple cultural resources sites, historical sites, and recreational sites.  The fire started on July 18, 2014, and has burned approximately 38,000 acres.  The Federal Principal Advisor confirmed the threat to homes, dams, overhead power lines, and rail line.  The fire is at zero percent contained.  

A state of emergency was declared by the Governor late Tuesday, July 14 in 20 Eastern Washington counties in response to multiple wildfires threatening homes, businesses, public infrastructure, and natural resources in many parts of the state as fire crews face continued severe fire weather conditions.

The authorization makes FEMA funding available to pay 75 percent of Washington State’s eligible firefighting costs under an approved grant for managing, mitigating and controlling designated fires. These grants provide reimbursement for firefighting and life-saving efforts. They do not provide assistance to individuals, homeowners or business owners and do not cover other infrastructure damage caused by the fire.

Fire Management Assistance Grants are 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 items can include expenses for field camps; equipment use, repair and replacement; mobilization and demobilization activities; and tools, materials and supplies.

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.


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Last Updated: 
August 6, 2014 - 11:44