FEMA Authorizes Federal Funding for Vineyard Fire Burning Near Hot Springs

DENVER – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has authorized the use of federal funds to help with firefighting costs for the Vineyard Fire in Fall River County, South Dakota.

FEMA Regional Administrator Lee K. dePalo approved the state’s request for a federal Fire Management Assistance Grant (FMAG) after receiving the request earlier today and determining that the Vineyard Fire threatened such destruction as would constitute a major disaster.

At the time of the request, the fire was threatening 100-plus homes in and around Galveston Circle, Galveston Avenue and Galveston Heights near Hot Springs, South Dakota, population approximately 3,500. Mandatory evacuations are underway for approximately 350 people. The fire started yesterday, August 11, 2018 and has burned nearly 200 acres of private land. It is zero-percent contained and is also threatening infrastructure and utilities in the area. A Red Flag Advisory remains in effect for the area, with hot, gusty conditions expected to continue tomorrow. 

The authorization makes FEMA funding available to pay 75 percent of the state’s eligible firefighting costs under an approved grant for managing, mitigating and controlling designated fires. These grants do not provide assistance to individual home or business owners and do not cover other infrastructure damage caused by the fire.

Fire Management Assistance Grants are provided through the President’s Disaster Relief Fund and made available by FEMA to assist in fighting fires that threaten to cause a major disaster. Eligible items can include expenses for field camps; equipment use, repair and replacement; mobilization and demobilization activities; and tools, materials and supplies.