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FEMA Authorizes Funds to Fight Lost Horse Creek Fire in Alaska

BOTHELL, Wash. -  The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) authorized the use of federal funds to help with firefighting costs for the Lost Horse Creek Fire burning in the Fairbanks North Star Borough, Alaska. 

The state of Alaska’s request for a federal Fire Management Assistance Grant (FMAG) was approved by FEMA Region 10 Acting Deputy Administrator Scott D. Zaffram on Thursday, August 3, 2023, at 6:48 p.m. AKDT. He determined that the Lost Horse Creek Fire threatened to cause such destruction as would constitute a major disaster. This is the first FMAG declared in 2023 to help fight Alaska wildfires.

At the time of the state’s request, the wildfire threatened homes in and around the Haystack Subdivision. The fire also threatened the Elliot Highway, local cooperative electrical utility lines, recreational facilities, and the University of Alaska’s Poker Flats Research Site. 

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. This 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. 

In addition to the firefighting funds authorized under this FMAG, another $918,774 will be available to Alaska through the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) Post Fire for the mitigation of future wildfires and related hazards, such as flood after fire or erosion. Some eligible wildfire project types include defensible space measures, ignition-resistant construction, and hazardous fuels reduction. The Disaster Recovery Reform Act of 2018 authorizes FEMA to provide 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.  

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