Federal government to cover 75% of firefighting costs
The Federal Emergency Management Agency issued a Fire Management Assistance Grant Tuesday to the state of California for the Alisal Fire firefighting effort.
The grant provides federal funds, covering 75% of eligible expenses. Authorized expenses include “expenses for field camps, equipment use, materials, supplies and mobilization and demobilization activities attributed to fighting the fire.”
“You can imagine on a fire like this, the county would have a hard time fulfilling our financial commitment as we share costs essentially in something like this without getting some financial support,” Santa Barbara County Fire Chief Mark Hartwig told the News-Press.
“We still have to come up with 25%,” he said. “But if it’s as much as a million or $2 million bill, I’d rather pay a quarter million or half a million then.”
He said crews will not change strategy after securing federal funds.
The state requested the grant Tuesday, when the fire threatened approximately 120 residential structures, railways, state beaches, a landfill, Highway 101, power lines, an oil plant and an interagency repeater tower system.
The regional administrator approved the application, recognizing the potential to become a major incident, a FEMA news release said.
Santa Barbara County Executive Officer Mona Miyasato said it was a “big deal” the grant was awarded.
“California Office of Emergency Services. has responded to us and given us all these systems that we need, they’ve been giving us resources. And this whole FMAG was one of the biggest things they could have done for us,” she said.
Santa Barbara County declared a state of emergency Tuesday and asked for Gov. Gavin Newsom’s help funding the fight. Now Cal OES has provided enough for current operations.
“If this is prolonged, we may request more funding from the California government,” Ms. Miyasato said.