OAKLAND, Calif. August 15, 2016 – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has authorized the use of federal funds to assist the State of California to combat the Chimney Fire burning in San Luis Obispo County.

On August 14, 2016, the State of California submitted a request for a Fire Management Assistance Grant (FMAG) declaration for the Chimney Fire.  At the time of the request, the fire was threatening 784 homes in and around the unincorporated communities of Cal Shasta, Ranch Del Lago, Running Deer Ranch, and Tri Counties, with a total estimated population of 1,200.  Approximately 627 of the threatened homes are primary residences and 157 are secondary homes.  The fire was also threatening a gas pipeline, a 60 kilovolt transmission line, and Lake Nacimiento, which serves as a reservoir for drinking water in the area.  Mandatory evacuations were issued for approximately 1,000 people.

The fire started on August 13, 2016, and had burned in excess of 5,000 acres of State and private land.  The fire was five percent contained.  The Regional Administrator, FEMA Region IX, determined that the Chimney Fire threatened such destruction as would constitute a major disaster.  The State’s request was approved on August 14, 2016, at 7:24 p.m. PDT.

FMAGs provide federal funding for up to 75% of eligible firefighting costs.  The Disaster Relief Fund provides funding for FMAGs through FEMA to assist in fighting fires which threaten to cause major disasters.  Eligible costs covered by FMAGs can include expenses for field camps; equipment use; repair and replacement; tools; materials; supplies and mobilization; and demobilization activities.

Editor’s note: Updates on the Chimney Fire are here.