FEMA authorizes federal funds for Eastern WA fire relief
Aug 21, 2023, 11:38 AM | Updated: 6:39 pm
(Photo: Bill Kaczaraba/MyNorthwest.com)
The state of Washington requested federal aid in fighting the Gray Fire and the Oregon Fire burning in Spokane County and it was authorized by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) authorized the aid over the weekend.
Gov. Jay Inslee issued a state of emergency Saturday related to wildfires burning in Eastern Washington.
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This authorization makes FEMA funding available to pay 75% of the state’s eligible firefighting costs under an approved grant for managing, mitigating, and controlling designated fires. Eligible items include expenses for field camps, equipment use, repair, and replacement; mobilization and demobilization activities; and tools, materials and supplies.
The Gray Fire reached nearly 11,000 acres Sunday with 0% containment, the state agency reported on X, formerly known as Twitter. It added that the “spread was pretty moderate and mostly to the southwest.”
The DNR said Sunday the Oregon Road Fire had grown to over 9,250 acres and it was 0% contained.
The Gray Fire forced thousands to evacuate in Medical Lake near Spokane.
The Sourdough Fire, which has been burning since July 29, is now estimated to have burned 5,997 acres and is 12% contained.
Washington Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz said Friday state officials are being proactive in pre-positioning manpower and equipment to be able to respond quickly, and help from other states has been called in.
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“We currently have more than 100 people from 11 different states that are helping us keep Washington safe. That’s not just firefighters but other critical support staff like safety officers,” Franz said. “We know that people are out trying to grab these last few moments of summer and we are wanting them to do so and have a wonderful rest of the summer but do it in a way that is responsible and safe.”