BOTHELL, Wash. – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has authorized the use of federal funds to help with firefighting costs for three fires in Washington: the Cold Springs/Pearl Hill Fire impacting the Colville Reservation and Douglas and Okanogan counties, the Apple Acres Fire burning in Chelan County, and the Babb Fire in Spokane and Whitman counties.
FEMA Region 10 Administrator Mike O’Hare determined that the fires threatened to cause such destruction as would constitute major disasters. He approved the state of Washington’s requests for federal Fire Management Assistance Grants (FMAG) for all three fires. The state’s requests for the Cold Springs/Pearl Hill Fire and Apple Acres Fire were approved on Monday at 12:33 p.m. PDT and 7:32 p.m. PDT, respectively. The state’s request for the Babb Fire was approved this morning at 1:03 a.m. PDT.
The Cold Springs/Pearl Hill Fire started on Sunday and had burned in excess of 100,000 acres of federal, state, and tribal land at the time of the state’s request. Evacuation orders were in place for 350-500 homes in and around the communities of Mansfield and Bridgeport. At time of request, the fire was zero percent contained.
The Apple Acres Fire started on Monday and had burned approximately 2,500-3,000 acres of federal, state, and private land at the time of the request. The fire was zero percent contained, and evacuation orders were in place for 307 homes in the area.
The Babb Fire started on Monday and had burned approximately 5,000-10,000 acres of federal, state, and private land. At the time of the request, evacuation orders were in place for 225 homes in the towns of Malden and Pine City. Most residences and structures in Malden and Pine City were destroyed by the fire. The fire chief reported that Search and Rescue teams will be deployed in both towns today. The fire was zero percent contained, and there were 17 other large fires burning uncontrolled within the state.
FMAGs are provided through the President's Disaster Relief Fund and are 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.
In addition to reimbursement funding for fighting each fire, a total of $1,889,043 in mitigation assistance will be available to Washington. The Disaster Recovery Reform Act of 2018 authorizes FEMA to provide Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) Post-Fire funds to eligible states and territories that receive Fire Management Assistance declarations and federally recognized tribes that have land burned within a designated area.
FEMA encourages HMGP Post-Fire funds be used for the mitigation of wildfire and related hazards, such as flood or erosion. However, HMGP is available for risk reduction of any hazard.