FEMA authorizes funds to help fight Chuweah Creek Fire

Fire burning near Nespelem
Daniel Nanamkin

BOTHELL, Wash. — To help Washington firefighters fight the Chuweah Creek Fire in Nespelem, The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has authorized the use of federal funds after it was determined it could cause a major disaster.

In coordination with the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, Washington submitted a request to FEMA for a Fire Management Assistance Grant (FMAG) declaration for the fire last Monday.

FMAGs are provided 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.

FEMA Region 10 Acting Regional Administrator Vincent Maykovich determined that the fire threatened to cause a major disaster, and he approved the request on Tuesday, making it the second FMAG declared to help fight Washington wildfires this year.

At the time of the request, the fire was threatening homes in Nespelem, as well as roads, tribal government buildings, a tribal prison, parks and recreation facilities, farms, utilities, the local watershed, streams and fish spawning sites and cultural significant places.

FEMA said the authorization makes funding available to pay 75 percent of the state’s eligible firefighting costs, while adding that these grants do not provide assistance to individual home or business owners and do not cover other infrastructure damage caused by the fire.

This authorization gives an additional $778,778 to Washington through the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) Post Fire for the mitigation of wildfire and related hazards, such as flood after fire or erosion. Eligible wildfire projects include defensible space measures, ignition-resistant construction and hazardous fuels reduction.

PAST COVERAGE: Evacuation levels for fires near Nespelem brought down to Levels 1 and 2