FEMA Backs Funds to Fight Hawaii Fire

August 22, 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 Waikele Fire burning near Mililani Town, in Honolulu County on the island of Oahu.

Michael Brown, under secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Re-sponse, said the state’s request for federal fire management assistance was approved after it was confirmed that the fire was threatening homes. The fire, which started Wednesday, had consumed more than 500 acres at the time of the request. Hawaii’s request for assistance was received at 10:30 p.m. EDT Thursday and granted at 12:50 a.m. EDT Friday.

In granting the state’s request for assistance, Brown said, “The Waikele Fire is just another example of how this active wildfire season is far from over. FEMA is here to make sure that Hawaii has the resources needed to fight this fire, and federal government will be with the state every step of the way.”

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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