President Obama declared an emergency exists in Washington due to raging wildfires and ordered federal aid to supplement state and local response efforts.
The President's action authorizes the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to coordinate all disaster relief efforts which have the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population, and to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures, authorized under Title V of the Stafford Act, to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety, and to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in the counties of Asotin, Chelan, Douglas, Ferry, Klickitat, Okanogan, Pend Oreille, Skamania, Spokane, Stevens, and Yakima and the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, the Kalispel Tribe of Indians, the Spokane Tribe of Indians, and the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakima Nation.
Specifically, FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency. Emergency protective measures, limited to direct federal assistance, will be provided at 75 percent federal funding.
Help is also coming from other states. On Friday Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton signed an emergency executive order providing assistance to Washington. Governor Dayton’s Executive Order directs the Minnesota National Guard to assist with fire suppression efforts by providing for 2 UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters, along with needed personnel and equipment, for a mission to Washington State beginning today for up to 15 days. A Minnesota Department of Natural Resources helicopter operations manager will accompany the National Guard on this mission.