FEMA Backs Funds to Help Calif. Fight School Fire

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has authorized the use of federal funds to help California fight the School fire burning just north of the city of Ventura in Ventura County.

Acting FEMA Director David Paulison said the state’s request for federal fire management assistance was approved after it was confirmed that the fire threatened 200 residences, damaged two homes and destroyed two commercial properties.

Other resources threatened include oil field tanks, well sites, electrical lines, pumps, pipelines, and other fixed facilities. The fire, which started November 18, had consumed more than 2,000 acres at the time of the state’s request, 2:30 p.m. EDT Friday, Nov. 18. The FEMA assistance grant was approved at 5:05 p.m. EDT the same day.

“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,” Paulison 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.