FEMA Authorizes Federal Funds to Help Fight Oregon’s Beachie Creek Lionshead Complex Fire

BOTHELL, WA (STL.News) The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) authorized the use of federal funds to help with firefighting costs for the Beachie Creek Lionshead Complex Fire burning in Oregon’s Marion, Clackamas, Linn and Jefferson counties, and on the Warm Springs Reservation.

FEMA Region 10 Administrator Mike O’Hare determined that the Beachie Creek Lionshead Complex Fire threatened to cause such destruction as would constitute a major disaster.  He approved the state of Oregon’s request for a federal Fire Management Assistance Grant (FMAG) today at 1:22 p.m. PT.

The Beachie Creek Lionshead Complex Fire includes the Mad Hatter and Wilhort Fires, along with several unnamed fires at this time.  This fire complex started on August 16, 2020, and had burned in excess of 107,175 acres of federal, state, private, and tribal land at the time of the state’s request.  The fire was threatening in excess of 3,000 homes in and around the communities of Detroit, Mill City, Gates, Sublimity, Stayton, and Idanha.  The fire was also threatening critical infrastructure, including Detroit Lake, which is the water source for the city of Salem.

Level Two and Three evacuations were issued for people throughout the affected area. Due to road closures resulting from this fire complex, residents of the city of Detroit were advised to shelter in place.  At the time of the request, this fire complex was zero percent contained, and there were at least 15 other large fires burning uncontrolled within the state.

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.

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