FEMA authorizes federal grant funds to help fight the South Valley Fire

BOTHELL, Wash. – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has authorized the use of federal funds to help with firefighting costs for the South Valley Fire burning in Wasco County, Oregon.

The fire, which started on August 1, had burned in excess of 20,000 acres of federal, state, private and tribal land. At the time of the request the fire was 0 percent contained and was threatening homes in and around the communities of Dufur and Tygh Valley. The fire was also threatening salmon hatcheries, salmon streams, railroad lines, state parks and mature wheat fields in the area. Mandatory and voluntary evacuations were issued and a Red Cross shelter was opened at The Dalles Middle School.

FEMA Region 10 Administrator Mike O’Hare determined that the fire threatened such destruction as would constitute a major disaster. He approved the state of Oregon’s request for a federal Fire Management Assistance Grant (FMAG) at 3:22 p.m. PDT on Thursday, August 2.

FMAGs are provided through the President’s Disaster Relief Fund and are made available by FEMA to assist in fighting fires that threaten to cause a major disaster. Eligible items can include expenses for field camps; equipment use, repair and replacement; mobilization and demobilization activities; and tools, materials and supplies.

In addition to reimbursement funding for fighting the South Valley Fire, the state of Oregon will be eligible for an additional $566,667 in assistance through the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP). The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 authorized FEMA to provide HMGP Post-Fire funds to eligible states and territories that receive Fire Management Assistance declarations and federally recognized tribes that have land burned within a declared area.

FEMA encourages HMGP Post-Fire funds be used for the mitigation of wildfire and related hazards, such as flood or erosion. However, HMGP is available for risk reduction of any hazard.