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FEMA Public Assistance grants help Washington communities recover from wildfires

FEMA Public Assistance Grants to Help Washington Communities Recover from Wildfires

CAMP MURRAY, Wash. – Specialists from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Washington State Emergency Management Division (EMD) are working closely with local and tribal officials to help Washington communities recover from this summer’s devastating wildfires.

The assistance comes through the Public Assistance (PA) program, which reimburses state and local governments, federally recognized tribes and certain private nonprofit organizations for eligible expenses they incurred in protecting lives and property ahead of and during the fires, and in cleaning up and rebuilding afterward.

The presidential disaster declaration stemming from the Aug. 9 to Sept. 10, 2015, wildfires makes FEMA PA grants available to eligible applicants in Chelan, Ferry, Lincoln, Okanogan, Pend Oreille, Stevens, Whatcom and Yakima counties and the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation.

“This program is important to Washington taxpayers,” said State Coordinating Officer Kurt Hardin of EMD. “It provides financial assistance that enables our communities to repair and rebuild without putting an additional burden on residents. We welcome partnering with FEMA to assist communities impacted by the historic wildfires. ”

“The PA program strengthens communities that do not have the resources to bounce back from a disaster,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Thomas Dargan of FEMA. “The funds help to repair the roads people use every day getting to work and school, put utilities and water systems back in order, and ensure a community's other important public needs are met.”

To date, 34 potential applicants have filed a Request for Public Assistance (RPA) to initiate a disaster claim under the Oct. 20 disaster declaration. Applicants have until Nov. 19 to file RPAs with the Washington Emergency Management Division.

The EMD, with FEMA support, is holding a series of briefings for potential applicants to provide a general overview of the grant program, outline program deadlines and answer any questions.

Also taking place are initial meetings among applicants and project officers from EMD and FEMA to discuss which types of emergency expenses and projects are federally reimbursable. They also discuss the process of rebuilding structures to resist damage in the future. 

These meetings are an important step in getting assistance dollars back into the communities.

Under the PA program, FEMA reimburses applicants for 75 percent of their eligible expenses, while the other 25 percent is the nonfederal share. The federal portion is paid directly to the state, which then makes disbursements to the local and tribal jurisdictions and organizations that incurred costs.

More information about the PA program is available at and on the Washington EMD website at

Additional information regarding the federal response to the wildfire disaster, including funds obligated, is available at