FEMA approves money for Columbia Complex fires - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

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FEMA approves money for Columbia Complex fires

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SEATTLE-The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency  authorized the use of federal funds to help Washington State fight the Columbia Complex Fire, burning two miles west of Dayton, in Columbia County. At the time of the request, two separate fires (Whiskey Creek and Cory Eye) were within one mile of the Columbia Fire, and were expected to merge. The fires threaten facilities ranging from roads and bridges, utilities, recreation areas and businesses, and resources such as wheat fields, timber, the Mill Creek Watershed and South Touche River.

Federal Emergency Management Agency Director R. David Paulison said the state's request for federal fire management assistance was approved after it was confirmed that the fire was threatening 50 homes, and up to 1500 more. The Columbia Complex Fire triggered the mandatory evacuation of 35 residents, with more under standby evacuation orders at the time of the grant request.

"The Columbia Complex Fire is just another example of how this active wildfire season is far from over," said Paulison. "FEMA is here to make sure that the State of Washington has the resources needed to fight this fire, and the federal government will be with the state every step of the way."

The 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.