Oklahoma Forestry Services (OFS), a division of the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food & Forestry, is urging all fire departments across Oklahoma to submit critical information that will help those departments involved in this spring’s large fires recoup some of their costs.
Several of the spring fires are eligible for a Fire Management Assistance Grant (FMAG) from FEMA which provides partial reimbursement of costs departments incurred while assisting on those incidents. Before any funds can be disbursed, the Department of Emergency Management must provide documentation to FEMA to show that Oklahoma has matched or exceeded the wildland firefighting “floor costs” .
“I am asking all Fire Chiefs to help us, OEM and your fellow chiefs by documenting the amount your fire department spent suppressing wildland fires from January 1st through March 15th,” said George Geissler, Oklahoma State Forester. “Your help will secure the money that FEMA has already set aside to reimburse Oklahoma fire departments.”
Completion of the form is voluntary but could help ease the budget crisis many departments are facing, as well as help departments with seeking FEMA assistance on large fires for the rest of 2011. The necessary forms can be obtained by visiting www.forestry.ok.gov/fmag-form or by calling 405-522-6158.
To help alleviate this situation in the future, OFS has launched a web-based Fire Reporting System for fire departments to use that will serve as a collection point of firefighting information. With this new system, near real-time information including costs associated with fighting wildland fires in the State of Oklahoma will be available. The system is free to all Oklahoma fire departments and signing up is available at www.firereporting.ok.gov or www.forestry.ok.gov/firereports.
Posted on Tue, May 3, 2011
by Michelle Finch-Walker, Public Information Officer 580-236-1021