FEMA authorizes federal funds to help battle Smith Mtn. wildfire - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

WILDFIRE WATCH

FEMA authorizes federal funds to help battle Smith Mtn. wildfire

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Lieutenant Jesse Mooney, right, of the Flat Top Mountain Volunteer FD, carries a hose as Assistant Chief Brent Masey, left, of the Highway 58 Volunteer FD in Harrison, Tenn., sprays water on a wildfire Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016. AP photo Lieutenant Jesse Mooney, right, of the Flat Top Mountain Volunteer FD, carries a hose as Assistant Chief Brent Masey, left, of the Highway 58 Volunteer FD in Harrison, Tenn., sprays water on a wildfire Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016. AP photo

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has authorized federal funds to reimburse costs to Tennessee to fight the Smith Mountain fire burning in Bledsoe, Hamilton and Sequatchie counties, according to a news release.

The authorization makes FEMA grant funding available to reimburse 75% of the eligible firefighting costs for managing, mitigating and controlling the fire. 

Eligible costs can include labor, equipment and supplies used for fighting the fire and costs for emergency work such as evacuations and sheltering, police barricading and traffic control.

“This wildfire threatens lives, structures and property, so FEMA has approved this request to make certain that Tennessee continues to have tools and personnel to fight this, and other fires, in the state,” said FEMA Regional Administrator Gracia Szczech. “We will continue to work closely with our state and local partners, who are the frontline responders battling this wildfire.”

The state requested a Fire Management Assistance Grant (FMAG), and it was granted in the early morning of November 11, 2016. The fire started on November 5, and has burned more than 2,400 acres of state and private land. At the time of the request, the fire was threatening 330 homes in and around the Smith Mountain Complex. The fire is also threatening the Windridge Community. Mandatory evacuations are taking place for approximately 15 to 30 homes and evacuations are expected to increase.

Federal fire management assistance is provided through the President’s Disaster Relief Fund and made available by FEMA to fight fires that threaten to cause a major disaster. Eligible state firefighting costs covered by the aid must first meet a minimum threshold for costs before assistance is provided.

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