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FEMA authorizes federal funds to battle more Oregon wildfires

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BOTHELL, Wash. (KTVZ) -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency authorized the use of federal funds Thursday to help with firefighting costs for the Clackamas County Complex Fire and two other blazes, on the coast and in southern Oregon. 

FEMA Region 10 Administrator Mike O’Hare determined that the fire threatened to cause such destruction as would constitute a major disaster, and on Thursday he approved the state of Oregon’s request for a federal Fire Management Assistance Grant (FMAG). 

The Clackamas County Complex Fire started on Monday, burning an unknown number of acres. At the time of the request, the fire was threatening homes in and around Clackamas County, including the cities of Molalla, Scotts Mills, Unions Mills, Colton, Redland and Logan. Evacuation notices have been issued for Clackamas County spanning to the Multnomah County border and the Portland Metropolitan Area. 

This fire complex consists of the North Cascade Complex Fire, the Unger Road Fire, the Whilhoit Road Fire, the Macksburg Road Fire, Dowty Road Fire, Blue Box Fire, Timothy Lake Fire, Old Cedar Fire, McGee Creek Fire, Lowe Creek Fire, Quarry Fire, Sisi Creek Fire, Hood Meadows Fire, La Dee Fire, and the Pot Creek Fire. 

Earlier Thursday,  FEMA authorized the use of federal funds to help with firefighting costs for the Pike Road Fire in Tillamook County and the Slater Fire in Josephine County.

The Pike Road Fire started on Tuesday, burning in excess of 220 acres of state and private land. At the time of the request, the fire was threatening over 1,355 homes in and around the communities of Bay City, Hobsonville and Idaville. Immediate threats are to Bay City, as well as the local water supply and watersheds in the surrounding hills. 

The Slater Fire started in California and crossed into Oregon on Wednesday, burning over 135,000 acres of federal and private land. At the time of the request, the fire threatening homes in and around the communities of Cave Junction, O’Brien and Kerby. The fire also threatened the Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve, timber and national forest lands. 

The number of FMAGs approved for the state of Oregon now totals 14, most of them approved this week. 

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 fire, $629,681 in mitigation assistance will be available to Oregon. The Disaster Recovery Reform Act of 2018 authorizes FEMA to provide Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (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 designated 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. 

Article Topic Follows: Oregon-Northwest

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