Texas Emergency Management ONLINE 2011 Vol. 58 No. 6



Fire Management Assistant Grants, often referred to as FMAGs, are one of the main sources of federal assistance to state and local governments for wildfires. These grants allow for the “mitigation, management and control” of fires burning on publicly or privately owned forest or grasslands.

The FMAG declaration process works this way. Requests are submitted electronically by TDEM to FEMA while the fire is burning uncontrolled, and while the fire threatens so much destruction that it would constitute a major disaster. The entire FMAG request process is accomplished on an expedited basis and a FEMA decision is rendered in a matter of hours.

The assessment takes into account factors such as major economic impact and whether the fire threatens lives and improved property including critical facilities, critical infrastructure or critical watershed areas. Additionally, the availability of state and local fire fighting resources are considered, along with conditions of high fire danger.

If an FMAG is denied, the state may file an appeal. When an FMAG is granted, the grant provides reimbursement by the federal government for 75 percent of eligible costs, with 25 percent to be provided by the local government. Eligible costs include the following:

  • Costs for equipment and supplies (less insurance proceeds);
  • Costs for emergency work (evacuations and sheltering, police barricading and traffic control, arson investigation);
  • Costs for State Emergency Operations center (when used as a Unified Command Center);
  • Costs for the pre-positioning of federal, out-of-state, and international resources for up to 21 days;
  • Cost of personal comfort and safety items for firefighter health and safety;
  • Costs for field camps and meals in lieu of per diem;
  • Costs for mobilization and demobilization costs;
  • Costs for the temporary repair of damage caused by firefighting activities;
  • Costs for the mitigation, management and control of declared fires burning on co-mingled federal land, when such costs are not reimbursable by another federal agency.

Once an FMAG is declared, TDEM Recovery Staff will work with the appropriate county and jurisdictions to hold an Applicant’s Briefing. This briefing will discuss the guidelines and requirements of the grant. From the point of the meeting, TDEM Recovery Staff will work with the county in retrieving the proper documentation within 3-4 months if not sooner and coordinate with FEMA on the funding aspects of the grant.

The Fire Management Assistance Grant Program (FMAGP) is authorized under Section 420 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Act, 42 U.S.C. 5187, as amended by the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000. FMAGs allow for the provision of assistance under Section 403, Essential Assistance of the Stafford Act (also considered to be Public Assistance Category B (Emergency Work). For more information on FMAGs, visit FEMA’s Fire Management Assistance Grant Program page.

Front Page Photo: Heavy Air Tanker Drop on the Pitt Road Fire in Randall County. Photo courtesy of Bryan Frisk.

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