The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has authorized the use of federal funds to help with firefighting costs for the West Fork Complex in Mineral and Rio Grande Counties.
FEMA Acting Regional Administrator Doug Gore has approved the state’s request for a Federal Fire Management Assistance Grant (FMAG). At the time of the request, the fire was threatening over 200 homes in and around the town of South Fork and numerous rural subdivisions and scattered homes. Mandatory evacuations have been issued for 250 – 300 homes and there are several thousand additional tourists included in the mandatory evacuation area. The fire is also threatening watersheds, recreation, and tourism in the area. US Highway 160 is closed due to the fire between the town of South Fork and Treasure Falls.
The authorization makes FEMA funding available to pay 75 percent of the state’s eligible firefighting costs under an approved grant for managing, mitigating and controlling designated fires. These grants do not provide assistance to individual home or business owners and do not cover other infrastructure damage caused by the fire.
Fire Management Assistance Grants are provided through the President’s Disaster Relief Fund and 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.