FEMA Backs Funds to Assist Fight in Hawaiian Akoni Pule Highway Fire

August 4, 2005

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has authorized the use of federal funds to help Hawaii fight the Akoni Pule Highway fire burning on the island of Hawaii.

Michael Brown, under secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response, said the state’s request for federal fire management assistance was approved after it was confirmed that the fire had threatened more than 650 people and 300 homes. The fire, which started Aug. 2, had consumed more than 2,500 acres at the time of the request, 1:20 a.m. EDT Thursday, Aug. 4. The FEMA assistance grant was approved at 4:03 a.m. EDT. Thursday, Aug. 4.

“FEMA is committed to assisting our nation’s firefighters in getting them the resources they need to quickly extinguish this fire that threatens people’s lives and property,” Brown said.

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.

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