Ga. Governor Requests Presidential Emergency Declaration

June 5, 2007

Gov. Sonny Perdue sent a letter to the president requesting an emergency declaration for all 21 Georgia counties impacted by the continual widespread threat of drought and wildfires that has consumed more than 490,000 acres.

“The affected local governments and the State of Georgia are depending on this broad level of assistance to save lives, protect property, public health and safety, and to lessen and avert the threat of a disaster,” Perdue wrote to Bush.

The governor’s request would provide public assistance funds for mobilization and demobilization reimbursements associated with firefighting costs for state and local governments. In addition, the declaration could include reimbursement costs for debris removal around threatened property and the removal of fire damaged property.

The counties included are Atkinson, Bacon, Berrien, Brantley, Bryan, Camden, Charlton, Chatham, Clinch, Coffee, Echols, Effingham, Glynn, Lanier, Liberty, Long, Lowndes, McIntosh, Pierce, Ware and Wayne.

“We appreciate the five federal Fire Suppression Management Grants that have already been approved to help fight these wildfires. We are grateful for the continual partnerships between FEMA Region IV, the Georgia Forestry Commission, affected local governments, and all of the other agencies from around the state and nation helping Georgia in this monumental firefighting effort. This declaration will support the initial attack on new fires before they cause significant damage,” Perdue said. “We simply need more assistance now that the fires have burned for so long and consumed so many acres.”

The declaration would also help to maintain a command structure for wildfire mop-up, an aggressive public information campaign regarding fire prevention, burn authorization restrictions and apprehension of arsonists.

More than 1,500 firefighters are in their seventh week of battling southeast Georgia wildfires, fueled by extreme drought conditions, low humidity and gusty winds.

Source: Office of the Governor of Georgia

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