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FEMA Response Efforts Continue for Western Wildfires, Begin for Hurricane Sally

JACKSON, Oregon. -- FEMA Search and Rescue teams from Nevada and Utah scour through debris under the direction of the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department.

FEMA is continuing to mobilize teams and supplies to respond to impacts from Hurricane Sally in the Gulf and wildfires out west.  Federal, state, local, tribal and territorial partners are working with FEMA to make sure needs are met.

“It’s a true team effort,” Administrator Gaynor said in a briefing to President Trump Monday.  “The disaster declarations and Fire Management Assistant Grants have allowed the Governor to exercise all the resources the federal government has to respond and protect life. That’s the number one priority.”

Hurricane conditions begin today on the Gulf Coast where Hurricane Sally is expected to make landfall Tuesday. President Trump approved emergency declarations for Louisiana and Mississippi Monday afternoon. These declarations authorize FEMA to provide assistance, including direct federal assistance, for emergency protective measures for 30 parishes in Louisiana and 24 counties in Mississippi.

FEMA teams are already on the ground, including recovery teams that were supporting Hurricane Laura. Teams are ready to support state and local officials with ongoing response and recovery efforts across the Gulf Coast.

A storm surge warning is in effect from Port Fourchon, Louisiana, to the Okaloosa/Walton County Line in the Florida Panhandle. Severe inland flooding is also expected to impact areas far from the coast due to the storms slow movement. If you are in the path of Hurricane Sally, it is important to remember the following about storm surge:

  • Storm surge is water that is pushed onto shore by a hurricane. It can rise as rapidly as several feet in just a few moments.
  • This wind-driven water has tremendous power. One-foot deep storm surge can sweep your car off the road. A 6-inch surge is difficult to stand in.
  • The water is also dangerous because of the large amount of floating debris that typically accompanies the surge. Don’t drive or walk through flood waters. Be aware of downed power lines, standing water, and other hidden hazards. 
  • Residents in Louisiana should call 2-1-1 evacuation, sheltering and resources for immediate needs.

Recovery and response efforts are also continuing in the west. There are over 100 large fires throughout the Western U.S. that have burned over 5 million acres across California, Colorado, Oregon and Washington.

President Trump approved a major disaster for California on Aug. 22. Residents and business owners in nine 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, for emergency work and repair or reconstruction of damaged infrastructure and facilities.

The President has approved an emergency declaration for Oregon on Sept. 10 for the 12 active wildfires impacting the state.  Under the Emergency Declaration, Federal funding is available to the state, eligible local and tribal governments, and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency protective measures (Category B), including direct federal assistance, under the Public Assistance program at 75 percent federal funding.

In support of state and local response, FEMA has deployed four Urban Search and Rescue teams to Oregon, including an incident support team to support state search and recovery needs. Additionally, FEMA has meals, water, cots and blankets staged in Salem, Oregon, with additional quantities of each along with hygiene kits, commonly used shelter items and generators in transit to a staging area at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington.

In addition, fourteen Fire Management Assistance Grants approved in California, three approved in Colorado, 16 approved in Oregon and eight approved in Washington.

If you are in an evacuation zone, heed warnings, and follow local official recommendations without delay.  In Oregon:

  • 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 already have an N95 mask, use this to protect yourself from smoke inhalation.
  • An Oregon Wildfire Resource Website has been created to help Oregonians stay informed at wildfire.oregon.gov.

For more information on how to prepare for disasters, visit Ready.gov.