BOTHELL – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) authorized the use of federal funds to help with firefighting costs for the Eagle Bluff Fire burning in Okanogan County, Washington.
The state of Washington’s request for a federal Fire Management Assistance Grant (FMAG) was approved by FEMA Region 10 Administrator Willie G. Nunn on Sunday, July 30, 2023, at 8:55 a.m. PT. He determined that the Eagle Bluff Fire threatened to cause such destruction as would constitute a major disaster. This is the fifth FMAG declared in 2023 to help fight Washington wildfires.
At the time of the state’s request, the wildfire threatened homes in and around the community of Oroville. The fire also threatened public buildings, businesses, utilities, an airport, golf course, multiple parks, recreational facilities, local roads, vineyards, orchards, farms, water reservoirs, U.S. Border Patrol communication towers and Canadian high pressure natural gas pipeline.
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. This 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. These grants do not provide assistance to individual home or business owners and do not cover other infrastructure damage caused by the fire.
In addition to the firefighting funds authorized under this FMAG, another $1,225,032 will be available to Washington through the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) Post Fire for the mitigation of future wildfires and related hazards, such as flood after fire or erosion. Some eligible wildfire project types include defensible space measures, ignition-resistant construction, and hazardous fuels reduction. The Disaster Recovery Reform Act of 2018 authorizes FEMA to provide 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.