June 25th, 2007 06:44 EST
FEMA Authorizes Funds for Caribou Hills Fire
ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Yesterday evening, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) authorized the use of federal funds to help Alaska fight the Caribou Hills Fire burning east of Ninilchik in the Kenai Peninsula Borough.
Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator R. David Paulison said the state's request for federal fire management assistance was approved after it was confirmed that the fire had destroyed 30 to 50 structures, threatened 150 primary residences, and had resulted in the evacuation of at least 75 residents. The fire was approximately 14 miles east of Ninilchik, had consumed more than 12,000 acres of state, private and tribal land at the time of the grant request on June 22, 2007, and was described as burning out of control, with zero containment. The aid was requested at 8:00 p.m. EDT and approved at 11:45 p.m. EDT.
"This declaration is the first step towards enabling the state and local governments to apply for financial help," said Paulison. "We are committed to getting our firefighters the funds they need to extinguish dangerous fires that threaten lives and property."
The authorization makes FEMA funding available to pay 75 percent of the state's eligible firefighting costs under an approved grant for managing, mitigating and controlling designated fires.
Federal fire management assistance is provided through the President's Disaster Relief Fund and made available by FEMA to assist in fighting fires that threaten to cause a major disaster. Eligible state firefighting costs covered by the aid must first meet a minimum threshold for costs before assistance is provided. Eligible costs covered by the aid can include expenses for field camps; equipment use, repair and replacement; tools, materials and supplies; and mobilization and demobilization activities.
FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.