The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has authorized the use of federal funds to help with firefighting costs for the Chehalem Mountain Bald Peak Fire burning in Washington and Yamhill counties in Oregon.
FEMA Region 10 Administrator Mike O’Hare determined that the fire threatened to cause such destruction as would constitute a major disaster, and on Thursday he approved the state of Oregon’s request for a federal Fire Management Assistance Grant (FMAG).
The Chehalem Mountain Bald Peak Fire started on Tuesday, burning 1,500 acres of federal, state, private, and tribal land. At the time of the request, the fire was threatening 250 homes in and around the community of Buckheaven, as well as threatening two major access roads and Walker Reservoir in the area. Level Three evacuations were issued for approximately 450 people.
As of now, the approved FMAG total for Oregon is 15.
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, $629,681 in mitigation assistance will be available to Oregon. 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.