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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 Atlas, Tubbs, Cascade, Lobo, LaPorte, Potter and Nuns fires burning in six northern California counties.
On October 9, 2017, the State of California submitted several requests for Fire Management Assistance Declarations for the following named fires:
Atlas in Napa and Solano counties,
Tubbs in Napa and Sonoma counties,
Cascade in Butte and Yuba counties,
Lobo in Nevada County,
LaPorte in Butte County,
Potter in Mendocino County, and
Nuns in Sonoma County.
At the time of the requests, the fires threatened more than 14,000 homes, 100 businesses, a post office, 3 fire stations, 2 schools, and a state hospital. Critical infrastructure including a water pumping station, a hydro-electric facility, cell towers and electrical transmission lines are threatened or have been damaged.
Mandatory evacuations are taking place for approximately 19,000 people, with the potential for a 9,000 additional evacuations. The fire started on October 8, and has burned in excess of 45,000 acres of State and private land.
The FEMA Regional Administrator determined the fires threatened such destruction as would constitute a major disaster. There are 16 large fires burning uncontrolled within the State.
Fire Management Assistance Grants (FMAGs) provide federal funding for up to 75 percent of eligible firefighting costs. The Disaster Relief Fund provides funding for FMAGs through FEMA to assist in fighting fires that threaten to cause major disasters. Eligible costs covered by FMAGs can include expenses for field camps, equipment use, materials, supplies and mobilization, and demobilization activities attributed to fighting the fire.
With growing fire threats in California and firefighting operations and evacuations underway due to the fires, FEMA activated today its Regional Response Coordination Center in Oakland, California to ensure effective support to the State of California, local and tribal emergency management officials.
FEMA has also deployed an Incident Management Assistance Team to coordinate directly with the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services at the state emergency operations center in Sacramento.