BOTHELL, Wash. – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has authorized the use of federal funds to help with firefighting costs for the Deshka Landing Fire burning in Alaska’s Matanuska-Susitna Borough.
FEMA Region 10 Administrator Mike O’Hare determined that the fire threatened to cause such destruction as would constitute a major disaster. He approved the state of Alaska’s request for a federal Fire Management Assistance Grant (FMAG) at 9:06 p.m. PDT on Wednesday.
The fire started August 17 and had burned in excess of 1,800 acres of state land at the time of the state’s request. The fire was 5 percent contained and was threatening homes in and around the communities of Willow, Deshka Landing and Red Shirt Lake. Level III evacuations were issued for residents in 71 homes and Level I evacuations were issued for 849 homes near the affected communities.
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 the fire, $454,432 in mitigation assistance will be available to Alaska. 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 declared 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.
FEMA's mission is helping people before, during, and after disasters.