This revision to the Interim Policy on Fire Suppression Assistance dated April 15, 1999, is intended to clarify and broaden the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA's) policy on the eligibility of staged resources, mutual aid agreements, declaration delegation, timing of the declaration process, and emergency operations center costs. This policy has been archived.
See the Fire Management Grant Program for the current policies and publications.
Date Published: March 19, 2001
Response and Recovery Policy Number: 9550.3
Title: Interim Policy on Fire Suppression Assistance
Purpose: This revision to the Interim Policy on Fire Suppression Assistance dated April 15, 1999, is intended to clarify and broaden the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA's) policy on the eligibility of staged resources, mutual aid agreements, declaration delegation, timing of the declaration process, and emergency operations center costs.
Scope and Audience: The revisions in this policy apply to all fire suppression grants approved since January 1, 2001. This policy is intended to provide guidance for FEMA and State personnel responsible for the administration of the Fire Suppression Assistance Program.
Background: The Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 established the Fire Management Assistance Program. The program is scheduled for implementation on October 30, 2001, one year after enactment of the Disaster Mitigation Act. Until such time as implementation occurs, the Fire Suppression Assistance Program remains effective.
In light of the forecasts for the 2001 Fire Season predicting another severe and potentially record setting fire season, we have decided to revise and reissue this policy in an effort to provide States with the fullest level of fire suppression assistance allowable under the law and FEMA regulations until implementation of the Fire Management Assistance Program. This will be a very short-lived policy, and will terminate upon implementation of the Fire Management Assistance Program. This revision to the Interim Policy will not influence the rule making for the Fire Management Assistance Program.
Staging Resources i
FEMA may authorize reimbursement to the State for the staging of Federal, in-State (State-owned only), out-of-State, and international resources as part of mobilization and demobilization only after a Fire Suppression Assistance Grant has been approved and the staged resources have been used in response to the approved fire incident.
To receive reimbursement, the State must meet all program requirements, including the floor cost requirements. For reimbursement, all resources must have been specifically requested and staged by the State.
Reimbursement of staging costs may be eligible for up to thirty days prior to the approval of a fire or fire complex for which Federal, in-State (State-owned only), out-of-State, and international resources were staged.
Reimbursement of eligible staging costs will be limited to the actual period in which resources were staged.
Eligible staging costs will be reimbursed on the basis of reasonable costs incurred, up to a maximum of 16 hours/day for each person and 24 hours/day for equipment.
Suppression costs incurred using the staged resources on unapproved fires during this period are not eligible.
In addition to staging costs, costs for mobilization to, and demobilization from, the staging area may be eligible for reimbursement.
Demobilization may be claimed at a delayed date if deployment involved one or more approved events.
If claiming mobilization and demobilization charges at a delayed date, such charges must be claimed against the first approved fire or fire complex.
In accordance with 44 CFR Part 13, the State must maintain appropriate records to support expenditures for the staging of Federal, in-State (State-owned only), out-of-State, and international resources.
State reimbursement of local governmental and volunteer firefighting organizations may be eligible provided that the local governmental or volunteer firefighting organizations have pre-existing written mutual aid agreements with the State and are authorized and directed by the Incident Commander, before deployment, to participate in the incident.
The written mutual aid agreement must apply uniformly in all fire incidents where the State or Incident Commander requests local resources, regardless of whether or not the fire is likely to be approved for fire suppression assistance.
State reimbursement of local governmental and volunteer firefighting organizations also may be eligible in the absence of pre-existing written mutual aid agreements provided that the FEMA-State Agreement for Fire Suppression Assistance ii contains a provision designating the State responsible for payment of such organizations when authorized and directed by the Incident Commander, before deployment, to participate in the fire incident.
The written mutual aid agreement or the FEMA-State Agreement for Fire Suppression Assistance must designate a State agency as the Grantee responsible for the monetary reimbursement of the local governmental and volunteer firefighting organizations.
Reimbursement of Mutual Aid Agreements
Reimbursement of fire suppression assistance grants is based upon actual and eligible costs incurred during suppression efforts. Since FEMA recognizes the State as the Grantee under the Fire Suppression Assistance Program, local governmental and volunteer firefighting organizations must submit their expenditures to the State agency designated as Grantee for reimbursement.
If the State requests and receives reimbursement by FEMA for eligible fire suppression costs incurred by local governmental and volunteer firefighting organizations, the State agency, in its role of Grantee, must disburse payment in a manner consistent with this policy (i.e., as stipulated in written mutual aid agreement or in the FEMA-State Agreement for Fire Suppression Assistance).
When reimbursing local governmental and volunteer firefighting organizations, we may use the rates specified in written mutual aid agreements or other reasonable rates.
Reimbursement of local governmental firefighting organizations straight time and overtime will be determined according to the written policies and labor union contracts in effect prior to approval of the fire or fire complex. Such costs must be determined reasonable to be eligible for reimbursement.
Upon request, the State must be able to provide FEMA with all the documentation of services rendered and costs incurred by local governmental and volunteer firefighting organizations.
Timing of the Declaration Process
FEMA shall base the decision to authorize or deny fire suppression on the conditions existing at the time of the State's request for fire suppression assistance.
The Executive Associate Director, Response and Recovery Directorate may delegate the declaration authority for fire suppression assistance to the Regional Director. The Regional Director may re-delegate this authority, but re-delegation is limited to the Deputy Regional Director or the Response and Recovery Division Director.
Payment of Emergency Operations Center Costs
We have determined that it is appropriate to reimburse the State for emergency operations center (EOC) expenses that are above normal operating costs if the EOC is considered to be a Unified Command Center used for direction and control of fighting declared fires or fire complexes, providing assistance to the management of the fire situation, tracking of fire-related costs, and coordination of the State response. FEMA will reimburse PFT State personnel for their overtime at the established cost share. Overtime costs associated with the EOC must be approved by the Regional Director.
Supersession: This policy supercedes the April 15, 1999, Interim Policy on Fire Suppression Assistance and any documents or parts of documents on the use of fire suppression funds for pre-disaster activity, staging of resources, mutual aid, declaration delegation, and the timing of the declaration process.
Authorities: Section 420 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, P.L. 93-288 as amended (Stafford Act), and implementing regulations in 44 CFR Part 206.390-395.
Originating Office: Infrastructure Division, Response and Recovery Directorate
Review Date: This policy will terminate with the implementation of the Fire Management Assistance Program on October 30, 2001.
Lacy E. Suiter
Executive Associate Director
Response and Recovery Directorate
Distribution: Regional Directors, Regional and Headquarters R&R Division Directors
For the purposes of this policy, "staging" is synonymous with "prepositioning" of resources.
The FEMA-State Agreement for Fire Suppression Assistance is a yearly agreement that once signed is applicable for all fire incidents approved during a calendar year. The Agreement may be amended throughout the year; however, amendments must apply uniformly to all fire incidents approved during the year.