The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has authorized the use of federal funds to help with firefighting costs for the Riverside Fire in Clackamas County, the South Obenchain Fire in Jackson County, and the Archie Creek Fire in Douglas County, Oregon.
FEMA Region 10 Administrator Mike O'Hare determined that the fires threatened to cause such destruction as would constitute a major disaster, and on Wednesday he approved the state of Oregon's requests for Fire Management Assistance Grants (FMAG).
The Riverside Fire started on Tuesday, burning over 100,000 acres of federal and private land. At the time of the request, the fire threatened an unknown number of homes in and around the communities of Colton, Elwood, Dodge, Faraday, Damascus, Beavercreek and Escatada. The fire also threatened transmission lines, private forest lands, industrial areas, fish bearing streams, along with unknown number of residences and business in the area. Almost all of Clackamas County is under Level Three evacuation notices.
The South Obenchain Fire started on Tuesday, burning over 8,000 acres of private land. At the time of the request, the fire threatened 1,291 households in and around the communities of Eagle Point, White City, Butte Falls, Shady Cove, and the surrounding Rouge Valley. A reported nine structures had been destroyed. The fire also threatened Interstate 5 and Highway 140 and local watersheds in the area.
The Archie Creek Fire started on Tuesday, burning in excess of 5,700 acres of federal and private land. At the time of the request, the fire threatened up to 300 homes in and around the communities of Gide, Idleyld Park, and Steamboat. The fire also threatened transmission lines in the area. More than 2,500 people are under Level Two and Three evacuation notices, and up to 300 homes are under Level Three evacuation notices with another over 500 homes under a Level Two notice.
The total number of FMAGs approved for Oregon during this fire season is 11.
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, $1,889,043 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.