Federal disaster funds approved for Washoe Drive fire | RecordCourier.com

Federal disaster funds approved for Washoe Drive fire

Staff Reports

Federal disaster funds have been made available to help fight the 3,900-acre Washoe Drive fire which destroyed 26 homes.

Firefighters and emergency personal are making progress on the Washoe Fire with the primary focus this morning of securing the perimeter of the blaze and extinguishing hot spots prior to winds picking back up today in advance of an oncoming winter storm.

Rhett Milne, Meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Reno says they are watching a powerful Pacific storm that is pushing into the area today bringing high winds and rain. “The biggest threat will be the heavy rain and potential flash flooding coming off the burn areas in the affected Washoe Fire areas but also the Caughlin Fire burn areas.”

During a press conference this morning at Depoali Middle School, Sheriff Mike Haley confirmed that a total of 26 homes had been lost in the Washoe Fire. “This fire moved so fast yesterday afternoon and I want to acknowledge the outstanding work of the firefighters who were able to hold the loss of structures to fire damage at 26 homes.”

Officials also updated the total acreage the fire has consumed to 3,900 acres with firefighters able to save more than 800 homes located inside the Washoe Fire perimeter. Elected officials from both Washoe County and the City of Reno are already on the scene of the fire this morning taking a tour of the burn areas.

County Manager Katy Simon says, “I have visited many of the sites already and the devastation is heartbreaking. The outstanding professionalism and courage of our emergency responders can’t be overstated. They put their lives on the line for us again. We also want to encourage citizens to donate to the Red Cross so that they can help the fire victims and the emergency responders.”

Citizens in need of resources or wishing to donate may contact the Red Cross at (775) 856-1000. Citizens can call 211 or (775) 337-5800 for evacuation information.

Postal service will not be delivered in the evacuation areas in Pleasant Valley and along US 395 and beginning Saturday residents can pick up their mail at the following locations:

• 89704 – Residents in that zip code can pick up mail at the Carson City Post Office located at 1111 S. Roop St.

• 89511, 89521 – Residents in that zip code can pick up mail at the Steamboat Post Office located at 75 McCabe Dr. in Reno

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency has authorized the use of federal funds to help fight the fire.

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 fire.

At the time the state of Nevada submitted a request for a Fire Management Assistance Grant, the fire was threatening 200 homes in and around Washoe City, Saint James Subdivision, Galena Forest Estates, and Pleasant Valley.  The fire was also threatening numerous buildings, infrastructure and utilities, and a watershed in the area. Voluntary evacuations had taken place for approximately 4,000 people.

“FEMA Region IX remains in constant contact with the Nevada Division of Emergency Management to identify needs and provide ongoing support as requested,” said FEMA Region IX Administrator, Nancy Ward.

The President’s Disaster Relief Fund provides funding for federal fire management grants 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.