FEMA Backs Funds to Help in Hawaii Fire

August 17, 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 Nanakuli Brush Fire burning near Oahu’s Honolulu County communities of Nanakuli and Palehua.

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 was threatening approximately 100 homes in Nanakuli and 50 in Palehua, with preparations under way for possible evacuations. The fire also resulted in the evacuation of the Camp Timberline youth camp, a military solar observatory, the Maunakapu Communications site, as well as the Kahi Power plant and power lines. The fire, which started on Aug. 14, had burned more than 1,500 acres at the time of the request, 8:06 p.m. EDT. Eligibility for federal funds was authorized at 10:01 p.m. EDT.

“With this latest wildfire threatening Nanakuli and Palehua, our commitment to the people of Hawaii remains strong,” said Brown. “FEMA will continue to support our state and local partners this wildfire season.”

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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