FEMA authorizes federal funds to help fight Palmer Fire

FEMA has authorized federal funds to help with firefighting costs for the Palmer Fire…

BOTHELL, Wash. – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has authorized the use of federal funds to help with firefighting costs for the Palmer Fire burning in Okanogan County, approximately seven miles southwest of the City of Oroville.

FEMA Region 10 Deputy Administrator Vincent Maykovich determined that the fire threatened to cause such destruction as would constitute a major disaster. He approved the state of Washington’s request for a federal Fire Management Assistance Grant (FMAG) at 5:43 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 20.

The fire started on Tuesday, Aug. 18 and had burned in excess of 13,000 acres of federal, state and private land at the time of the state’s request. There were six other large fires burning uncontrolled within the state. The fire was zero percent contained and was threatening approximately 375 homes in and around the towns of Loomis, Nighthawk and Oroville. Level 3 “Get Out” evacuations were issued.

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 Washington. 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.