FEMA Authorizes Federal Funds to Help Battle Kentucky Wildfires

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ATLANTA, Ga. (WTVQ) – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has authorized federal funds to reimburse costs to Kentucky to fight the Southeastern Kentucky Fire Complex burning in Harlan, Knox, Letcher, and Pike counties.

This authorization makes FEMA grant funding available to reimburse 75 percent of the eligible firefighting costs for managing, mitigating and controlling the fire. Eligible costs can include labor, equipment and supplies used for fighting the fire and costs for emergency work such as evacuations and sheltering, police barricading and traffic control.

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“This fire is a major threat to lives and property in the commonwealth and responders need resources and personnel to battle this fire,” said FEMA Regional Administrator Gracia Szczech. “FEMA has approved this grant to make sure every available resource is at their disposal.”

The commonwealth requested a Fire Management Assistance Grant (FMAG), and it was granted in the afternoon of November 20, 2016. At the time of the request the fire had burned more than 27,450 acres of state and private land. The fire was threatening more than 1,700 homes in the counties that were requested.

Federal fire management assistance is provided through the President’s Disaster Relief Fund and made available by FEMA to fund firefighting activities when there is a fire threat that could cause a major disaster. Eligible state firefighting costs covered by the aid must first meet a minimum threshold for costs before assistance is provided.