USA: FEMA funding to help California fight Tea Fire

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OAKLAND, Ca. -- The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has authorized the use of federal funds to help California fight the Tea Fire in Santa Barbara County.

The authorization makes FEMA funding available to reimburse 75 percent of the eligible firefighting costs under an approved grant for managing, mitigating and controlling the Tea Fire.

The fire has burned almost 2,000 acres and is at zero percent containment. Seventy structures are confirmed destroyed, with 1,500 homes threatened.

"With this latest wildfire in Santa Barbara County, our commitment to the State of California remains strong," said FEMA Region IX Acting Administrator Karen Armes. "FEMA will continue to support our state and local partners."

There have been 4,500 mandatory evacuations and another 4,500 voluntary evacuations. More than 200 people have registered for an overnight stay at San Marcos High School (capacity of 400) and 800 students remain sheltered in place at Westmont College.

The President's Disaster Relief Fund provides funding for federal fire management made available by FEMA to assist in fighting fires that threaten to cause a major disaster. Eligible firefighting costs, covered by the grant, must meet a minimum threshold for costs before delivery of assistance. Eligible costs covered by the aid can include expenses for field camps; equipment use, repair and replacement; tools, materials and supplies; and mobilization and demobilization activities.

FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.