The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has authorized the use of federal funds to assist the State of California to combat the Canyon 2, Partick, and Sulphur fires burning in five California counties.

On October 9, 2017, the State of California submitted several requests for Fire Management Assistance Declarations for the following named fires: Canyon 2 in Orange and Riverside counties, Partick in Napa and Sonoma counties, and Sulphur in Lake County.

At the time of the requests, the fires threatened more than 5,100 homes, 300 businesses, and three schools.  Critical infrastructure threatened included water and sewer treatment facilities, a fiber optic trunk facility, six electric transmission lines are threatened or have been damaged.  Several highways in the counties are also threatened.  A dairy and an undetermined number of homes were destroyed by the three fires.

Mandatory evacuations are taking place for approximately 14,000 people, with the potential for 1,000 additional evacuations.  The fires started on October 8 and 9, and have burned in excess of 7,500 acres of State and private land.

The FEMA Regional Administrator determined the fires threatened such destruction as would constitute a major disaster.

Fire Management Assistance Grants (FMAGs) provide federal funding for up to 75 percent of eligible firefighting costs.  The Disaster Relief Fund provides funding for FMAGs through FEMA to assist in fighting fires that threaten to cause major disasters.  Eligible costs covered by FMAGs can include expenses for field camps, equipment use, materials, supplies and mobilization, and demobilization activities attributed to fighting the fire.

With growing fire threats in California and firefighting operations and evacuations underway due to the fires, FEMA activated today its Regional Response Coordination Center in Oakland, California to ensure effective support to the State of California, local and tribal emergency management officials. 

FEMA has also deployed an Incident Management Assistance Team to coordinate directly with the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services at the state emergency operations center in Sacramento.a