OAKLAND, Calif. — 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 Pier Fire burning in Tulare County.
On September 5, 2017, the State of California submitted a request for a Fire Management Assistance Declaration for the Pier Fire. At the time of the request, the fire was threatening 269 residences in and around the communities of Springville, Sequoia Crest, Ponderosa, Camp Nelson, and the Tule River Reservation. The fire was also threatening six buildings, infrastructure, utilities, and watershed. It was 15 percent contained at that time.
Mandatory evacuations are taking place for approximately 1,641 people, with the potential for further evacuations. The fire, which started on August 29, 2017, has now burned in excess of 20,259 acres of state and private land. There are 18 other large fires currently burning in the state.
The Regional Administrator determined the Pier Fire threatened such destruction as would constitute a major disaster. The State’s request was approved the day it was received.
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 which 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.