ATLANTA – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency has authorized federal funds to reimburse costs to Florida to fight the Mussett Bayou Fire located in Walton County.
This authorization makes FEMA grant funding available to reimburse 75 percent of the eligible firefighting costs for managing, mitigating and controlling the fires. Eligible costs can include labor, equipment and supplies used for fighting the fire and costs for emergency work such as evacuations and sheltering, police barricading and traffic control.
"In less than 24 hours, this is the second wildfire in the Florida Panhandle to receive federal funding. The grant gives Florida additional funding to fight the fires and save lives, structures and property,” said FEMA Regional Administrator Gracia Szczech.
The state requested a Fire Management Assistance Grant (FMAG) on May 6 and it was granted on May 7, 2020. The fire destroyed 14 residences and threatens more than 75 residences along US 98 near the city of Santa Rosa Beach. At the time of the request, the fire had burned in excess of 521 acres and was 25 percent contained. More than 500 people have been evacuated in the affected area. The fire is also threatening buildings, businesses, infrastructure and utilities in the area.
Federal fire management assistance grants are provided through the President’s Disaster Relief Fund and made available by FEMA to reimburse costs associated with 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.
FEMA’s mission: Helping people before, during and after disasters.