Washington to Receive Federal Emergency Relief for Wildfires

Washington to Receive Federal Emergency Relief for Wildfires

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President Obama Wednesday declared an emergency exists in the State of Washington and ordered federal aid to supplement state and local response efforts in the area affected by wildfires beginning on July 9, 2014, and continuing.

Obama’s action authorizes the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to coordinate all disaster relief efforts which have the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population, and to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures, authorized under Title V of the Stafford Act, to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety, and to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in the counties of Chelan and Okanogan and the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation.

Specifically, FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize and provide, at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency.  Emergency protective measures, limited to direct federal assistance, will be provided at 75 percent federal funding.

“These additional resources will significantly help our efforts to restore power to thousands of people affected by these fires,” Governor Jay Inslee said. “When I spoke to the president yesterday he indicated he was committed to doing everything he could to help and it’s clear he meant it. I appreciate his prompt response and partnership in helping our state.”

Inslee also thanked members of the state congressional delegation for their help in ensuring swift approval of the emergency declaration request.

“Senators Murray and Cantwell and Representatives Hastings and Reichert have been right at the front of these efforts to make sure every available resource is brought to bear on these fires,” Inslee said. “Their help has been instrumental.”

The governor declared a state of emergency on July 15 in the 20 counties of Eastern Washington as a result of rapidly growing wildfires.  The governor amended the proclamation on July 21 to include a temporary outdoor burn ban in Eastern Washington, effective through July 25.  This proclamation makes the services of the Washington National Guard available to assist with firefighting efforts, and directs state agencies to do everything possible to assist in the response and recovery efforts.

W. Craig Fugate, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Homeland Security, named Michael J. Hall as the Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in the affected area.

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