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Hurricane Sally and Western Wildfires Response Update

Release Date Release Number

WASHINGTON -- Hurricane Sally made landfall this morning near Gulf Shores, Alabama, as a Category 2 hurricane, bringing historic and catastrophic flooding along and just inland of the Gulf Coast, from west of Tallahassee, Florida, to Mobile Bay, Alabama. Dangerous and life-threatening storm surge is occurring along portions of the coastline from Alabama to the western Florida Panhandle.

Significant flash and urban flooding are also likely, due to rainfall through the week across inland portions of the Alabama into Central Georgia. Widespread flash and urban flooding and widespread minor moderate river flooding are possible across western South Carolina into western and central North Carolina this week.

FEMA is leaning forward with our federal, state, local and tribal partners to mobilize teams and supplies in support of state managed, locally executed response to impacts from Hurricane Sally along the Gulf Coast and the wildfires in the West.

Emergency responders on the West Coast are focused on life saving and life safety measures in the areas impacted by wildfires. Public safety is the No. 1 priority: residents in at-risk areas should follow local officials’ instructions and be ready to take action.

Gulf Coast Residents: Stay Alert and Heed Local Officials' Instructions

  • State and local officials will have the most up-to-date information on evacuation orders and shelter locations.
  • ​Alabama residents should call or text 2-1-1 for evacuation, sheltering and resources for immediate needs.
  • The American Red Cross is prepared to shelter and support families. For assistance, call 3-1-1 or visit the Red Cross website.

The storm is forecast to bring a severe threat of inland flooding in several states we still ask everyone to stay focused on safety and encourage to practice the following:

  • Do not return until local officials tell you it is safe to do so. If you have been ordered to shelter in place, please do so until advised it is safe.
  • Don’t drive or walk through flood waters. Be aware of downed power lines, standing water, and other hidden hazards. 
  • Stay off roads so that emergency workers can get through.
  • Check on your neighbors. You may be the help they need right now.
  • Property owners with a flood insurance policy through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for property in communities where the general condition of flooding in the area exists or officials have issued evacuation orders can take protective action to minimize flood damage and losses to their buildings and personal property before a flood occurs under the “flood loss avoidance” provision.
    • ​These actions may include sandbags (including the sand to fill them), backfill to create temporary levees, water pumps, plastic sheeting and lumber used in connection with any of these items and the cost of labor.
    • Flood insurance provided under NFIP flood policies will cover up to $1,000 in reasonable expenses incurred to protect insured property and up to $1,000 to move insured property away from a flood or imminent danger of a flood.

Federal Support is Mobilized for Response to Hurricane Sally

  • President Trump approved emergency declarations for AlabamaFloridaLouisiana and Mississippi, authorizing FEMA to provide assistance, including direct federal assistance, for emergency protective measures.  
  • FEMA Regions are in close contact with state and tribal emergency managers in all states that may be impacted. 
  • FEMA Incident Management Assistance Teams are onsite in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi to support the states’ response activities and ensure there are no unmet needs. A liaison officer is in place at the Florida Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee.
  • FEMA deployed Mobile Emergency Response Support to Jackson, Mississippi, which includes a Mobile Emergency Operations Vehicle with emergency communication capabilities for federal resources, if needed.
  • Urban Search and Rescue teams have been assigned and are staged in Hammond, Louisiana.
  • FEMA previously moved generators from Alabama and Georgia to support ongoing recovery efforts for Hurricane Laura. Additional commodities remain throughout the southeast to help support response efforts for Sally if needed.
  • Additional personnel from the federal government, including the Department of Defense, Department of Transportation, Health and Human Services, Department of Energy, DHS Cybersecurity Infrastructure and Security Agency and Army Corps of Engineers have been mission assigned to provide support to impacted states and tribes, as needed.

Federal Support is Mobilized for Response to Western Wildfires

  • FEMA has personnel, commodities such as food, water, cots and teams including Urban Search and Rescue and Mobile Emergency Response Support mobilized to support the impacted areas.
  • President Trump approved a major disaster for Oregon on Sept. 15. Residents and business owners in eight counties who have disaster-caused damage can apply for assistance at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or via the FEMA app. The declaration also authorizes reimbursement to state, local and tribal agencies, and certain private non-profit organizations in 20 counties for emergency work and the repair or replacement of disaster-damaged facilities. Hazard mitigation is approved statewide. Details are available on the disaster webpage.
    • The disaster declaration is in addition to the Emergency Declaration approved by the President for 11 counties in the state on Sept. 10.
  • FEMA is prepared and working under the worst-case scenario to provide the support needed across Oregon.
    • FEMA and federal partners are co-located with the Oregon Office of Emergency Management at the Oregon Emergency Coordination Center and the FEMA Regional Response Coordination Center in Bothell, Washington is activated to support the state.
    • FEMA has obligated more than $1.2 million in mission assignments and is processing 46 active resource requests in support of the state.
    • Two Regional Incident Management Assistance Teams are deployed to Oregon to support state operations.
  • FEMA has deployed five Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) teams, including an incident support team, along with other specialized teams from Federal partners to provide support. 
    • Teams include US&R Washington Task Force 1, US&R Utah Task Force 1, US&R K9 Search and Rescue from Nevada Task Force 1, and the US&R Red Incident Support Team. 
    • Massachusetts Task Force 1, 11 K9 specialists and 12 dogs, and several additional support teams will arrive today.
    • Two Mobile Emergency Response Support (MERS) units are deployed to Oregon, providing communications support for command and control of federal resources in support of the IST and US&R Teams.
  • FEMA staged meals, water, cots and blankets in Salem, Oregon. Additional meals, water, cots and blankets along with hygiene kits, commonly used shelter items and 27 generators are also staged at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington. Three water tankers are en route from Texas to JBLM; pending arrival this week. Both locations are staffed with Staging Management Teams.
  • Additional items requested by the State to support emergency responders, sheltering operation and health care workers will be shipped from a FEMA Distribution Center directly to Oregon by next week.
  • The President approved a major disaster for California on Aug. 22. Residents and business owners in declared counties who have disaster-caused damage can apply for assistance at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or via the FEMA app. The declaration also authorizes reimbursement to state, local and tribal agencies, and certain private non-profit organizations in nine counties for debris removal and 11 counties for emergency protective measures.
  • Fifteen Fire Management Assistance Grants (FMAG) have been approved in California, three have been approved in Colorado, 16 have been approved in Oregon and eight have been approved in Washington.
    • FMAGs provide federal funding for up to 75% of eligible firefighting costs to assist in fighting fires that threaten to cause major disasters.  Eligible costs covered by FMAGs can include expenses for field camps, equipment use, materials, supplies, and mobilization and demobilization activities attributed to fighting the fire.
    • The FMAG authorizes additional funding through the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program Post Fire for the reduction of risks from wildfires and post-fire flooding. Some eligible wildfire project types include defensible space measures, ignition-resistant construction and hazardous fuels reduction.
  • To address COVID-19 sheltering needs, this year FEMA has adjusted the FMAG program to include the reimbursement of costs to state and local governments for non-congregant emergency sheltering, such as hotel rooms.

Oregon Residents: Stay Informed, Be Ready, Know Where to Go and What to Bring if You Must Evacuate

  • An Oregon Wildfire Resource Website has been created to help Oregonians stay informed at wildfire.oregon.gov.
  • Know your evacuation levels! Level 1 - Be Ready. Level 2 - Be Set. Level 3 - Leave Immediately. DO NOT return the fire area until officials give the OK.
    • If you are in an evacuation zone, heed warnings, and follow local official recommendations without delay.
    • Local evacuation information can be found on the OEM Wildfire dashboard. Information is ever-changing so continue to check back for updated content.
    • Check with your county office of emergency management to sign up for local emergency alerts.
    • If you are in a safe place, you can help by staying home and off the road.
  • The American Red Cross is operating several Temporary Evacuation Points where evacuees can go for information and assistance. Locations change with the need. Community members who need assistance can contact 2-1-1.
  • If you are affected by the Oregon wildfires, contact your insurance company as soon as possible to discuss homeowner insurance policies and wildfire coverage.  The Oregon Insurance Commission has insurance resources available online.
  •  Please register for the Red Cross Safe and Well program at safeandwell.communityos.org.
  • For Oregonians and others asking how to help, you can donate to response organizations. Visit ORVOAD.org
  • Amid wildfire, smoke and erratic weather, the COVID-19 pandemic is still rampant. Face coverings are required in all parts of the state and Oregonians are reminded to maintain social distancing, and wash hands frequently. 

For additional preparedness information on all types of disasters, visit Ready.gov.


Last updated September 16, 2020