Federal Agencies Respond to Wildfires

In response to the wildfires that continue to blaze in Southern California, FEMA and various federal agencies are coordinating efforts to protect lives and aid first responders.

“Our priority is to support federal, state and local responders in critical life saving and life sustaining missions that protect people from the multiple wildfires,” said FEMA Administrator David Paulison, who visited the affected area Tuesday, Oct. 23. “We have many resources on the ground and are deploying additional assets to assist the thousands who are displaced from their homes as a result of the fires.”

FEMA has approved seven requests for Fire Management Assistant Grants to pay 75 percent of California’s eligible firefighting expenses, including costs for equipment, supplies, shelters and traffic control. FEMA also is providing federal aid to supplement state and local response activities and has identified an emergency response team to assist the affected area.

Other federal and nongovernmental agencies assisting with rescue and support efforts include:

  • The American Red Cross – The Red Cross not only offers shelter, food, first aid and hygiene supplies to affected residents in the area, but also provides food and water to firefighter and emergency workers. In all, the Red Cross has deployed 50,000 prepackaged meals, 25,000 cots, 50,000 blankets, 1,000 shelter workers and 1,000 people to help distribute supplies, mental health and first aid support.
  • U.S. Department of Justice – The Department of Justice’s Drug Enforcement Agency is assisting the fire efforts in San Diego County by contributing firefighting equipment, tents, clothing, air conditioning units, cots, meals, generators and water.
  • U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) – DOD deployed a Command Assessment Element to San Diego to support emergency response efforts and to provide command and control of any responding active duty forces.
  • The National Guard Bureau – The National Guard aids the firefighting efforts by deploying personnel and equipment, supporting firefighting efforts with CH-47 and UH-60 helicopters and assisting with transportation needs.
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture – The National Interagency Coordination Center mobilized more than 2,000 members of the wildland firefighting community to aid the firefighting efforts in Southern California. These responders came from various federal, tribal, state and local wildland fire organizations to provide communication, organization and coordination assistance in the area. Their teams contributed 31 crews, 90 fire engines, 11 water tenders, 11 heavy air tankers, 14 helicopters and six bulldozers to the rescue efforts.
  • U.S. Coast Guard – Coast Guard crews are delivering response gear to victims and will fly humanitarian missions throughout the duration of this fire emergency.
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) – HHS warns residents of the health and safety hazards posed by wildfires, such as smoke inhalation and air pollution.
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