Yosemite fire burns 230 square miles; FEMA to help cover costs
Federal officials have approved California’s request for aid as crews fight the Rim fire burning in and around Yosemite National Park.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has agreed to reimburse the state up to 75% of eligible firefighting costs under a grant for “managing, mitigating and controlling the fire,” the agency announced Monday.
Eligible costs can include expenses for field camps, equipment, tools and supplies, and mobilizing the firefighting effort, FEMA said.
The state submitted the request for funds last week as the Rim fire exploded in growth.
The fire, which according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection has burned 149,780 acres, was 15% contained, officials reported Monday.
Gov. Jerry Brown plans to meet with federal fire and emergency officials Monday in Tuolumne County, where he will be briefed by personnel on the ground and first responders.
Thousands of firefighters were battling the blaze on its 10th day as it moved across dry, rugged terrain near Yosemite National Park, threatening thousands of homes.
Flames from what would become one of the state’s largest wildfires in recent history were first spotted on a ridge in the Stanislaus National Forest on Aug. 17 by a plane flying to another small fire.
At more than 230 square miles, the Rim fire is one of the largest in California’s history.
Over the weekend near Tuolumne City, firefighters dug trenches, cleared brush, laid heavy water hoses and started backfires to try to divert the blaze around the town, as they had earlier in Groveland.
The fire is continuing to grow on the northeast and eastern sides, officials said. Crews were able to bring the fire line down to the Tuolumne River in an effort to prevent it from spreading farther west toward California 108.
On Friday, Brown extended a state of emergency to include the county and city of San Francisco. At the Hetch Hetchy reservoir, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission had to shut down two of its three hydroelectric power stations because of the fire.
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