FEMA Acting Regional Administrator Nancy Dragani approved Utah’s request for a federal Fire Management Assistance Grant to fight the Mammoth Fire after receiving the request on Saturday. The agency determined that the blaze “threatened such destruction as would constitute a major disaster,” according to a press release.
The Mammoth Fire grew to 699 acres over the weekend and is “threatening 280 homes in and around Panguitch, Utah and had burned in excess of 1000 acres of federal land as it was moving into state and private land,” according to the state’s request. FEMA says that the fire endangers infrastructure, utilities, equipment and the Sevier River watershed.
According to a fire update from the U.S. Forest Service, the cause of the fire remains under investigation and nearby Mammoth Creek Village has been evacuated. The fire is at zero percent containment with 20 fire engines, three attack aircraft, four helicopters and multiple other crews responding to the area.
The grant authorization will allow FEMA funding to pay 75 percent of Utah’s eligible firefighting costs for managing, mitigating and controlling the fire — although it does not provide funding to individual home or business owners who lose buildings or pay for infrastructure damage.
The authorization will also allow additional funding post-fire through the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program for the mitigation of wildfire and related hazards.