Federal help available for firefighting cost

Federal help available for firefighting cost

15 April 2011

published by www.gosanangelo.com

USA — Federal resources ranging from people to dollars can flow in to respond to wildfires like those raging in West Texas.

And that’s without a presidential disaster declaration — which brings major federal assistance for recovery.

Gov. Rick Perry hasn’t yet requested a presidential disaster declaration, Perry spokeswoman Catherine Frazier said Friday afternoon.

“We have not submitted one yet because the amount of damages suffered aren’t enough to qualify for federal assistance,” Frazier said.

But Perry appealed to the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help local fire departments and governments, and the state with firefighting costs.

FEMA has already made them eligible to apply for grants to pay expenses in battling the Cooper Mountain Ranch Fire, the PK West Fire and the Swenson Fire, according to the FEMA website.

Fire Management Assistance Grants provide a 75 percent cost share reimbursement for a wide range of things: evacuations, sheltering, materials and supplies, police barricading, traffic control, field camps and meals, pre-positioning federal and temporary repair of damage caused by firefighting activities.

Both volunteer and paid fire departments are eligible to seek the grants, FEMA spokesman Earl Armstrong said.

On Friday, federal personnel and equipment were involved in fighting the wildfires in West Texas, but details weren’t available, Texas Forest Service officials said.

If Perry does successfully seek a presidential disaster declaration, then people in areas included can seek disaster assistance ranging from help with short-term lodging to low-interest loans to cover damage to a business.

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