“FEMA Grants Approval for North Kohala Fire Assistance Request in Hawaiʻi”

“FEMA Approves Hawai‘i’s Disaster Declaration for North Kohala Wildfire Assistance”

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has granted approval to the State of Hawai‘i’s request for a disaster declaration to address the wind-driven North Kohala wildfire on the Big Island. This decision, made within the framework of the Fire Management Assistance Grant program, paves the way for potential federal reimbursement of up to 75% of eligible firefighting expenditures.

The wildfire ignited early on Tuesday and posed a threat to approximately 200 residences in and around Kohala Ranch—a rural community situated near the northern tip of Hawai‘i Island. With a population exceeding 500 individuals, Kohala Ranch faced imminent danger. Additionally, the flames menaced a volunteer fire department, local power transmission lines, and an AT&T cellular communications tower located in the vicinity.

At the time of the assistance request, the wildfire had already consumed over 600 acres of both state-owned and private land, yet it remained uncontained. The situation was exacerbated by the presence of high, turbulent winds and dry conditions—a consequence of the weather conditions induced by the passage of Category 4 Hurricane Dora. These adverse conditions prompted the issuance of a Red Flag Warning across much of Hawai‘i, a warning that extended into Wednesday.

“Multiple Uncontrolled Fires Ravage Big Island and Maui, Aircraft Support Hindered by Winds”

The Big Island and Maui are grappling with the challenge of containing two additional uncontrolled fires, exacerbating the ongoing wildfire crisis.

Firefighting teams engaged in all three incidents are encountering significant difficulties due to relentless winds, rendering aircraft support unfeasible for their endeavors to suppress the infernos.

Administrator Robert J. Fenton Jr. of FEMA Region IX assessed that the North Kohala fire’s potential for destruction, combined with its trajectory, could culminate in a calamity of significant proportions, thereby meriting classification as a major disaster threat.

“Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency Collaborates with FEMA to Manage North Kohala Fire Relief Efforts”

The Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency (HEMA) played a pivotal role in orchestrating the appeal for aid and will collaborate closely with FEMA to discern and monitor qualified expenses.

Expressing appreciation for the expeditious evaluation and verdict rendered by federal counterparts, James Barros, Administrator of the Hawaiʻi Emergency Management Agency, acknowledged the significance of this decision in bolstering Hawai‘i County’s capacity to confront the trials posed by the Kohala fire in a statement.

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