Hurricane Laura and California Wildfires
Below you will find today’s FEMA update on response preparations and operations for Hurricane Laura and the Wildfires.
- FEMA is leaning forward with our federal, state, local, tribal and territorial partners to mobilize teams and supplies to support a state managed, locally executed response to impacts from the storms in the Gulf and the wildfires out west. FEMA and its federal partners remain fully postured to support potentially impacted states and meet state-identified requirements.
- FEMA has adapted plans to the realities of responding during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure we can serve Americans while protecting their safety and that of FEMA employees.
- Hurricane Laura made landfall as a major hurricane near Cameron, Louisiana. The storm is forecast to bring continuing widespread wind damage and a severe threat of inland flooding in several states. Anyone in the forecasted path of the storm should monitor their local news for updates and directions provided by their local officials and heed local evacuation orders.
- Stay put. Stay off the roads. Emergency workers may be assisting people in flooded areas or cleaning up debris. You can help them by staying off the roads and out of the way. Do not return home until local officials say it is safe.
- Check in with neighbors. If it is safe to do so, check on your neighbors. You may be the help they need right now.
- Keep out of the water. Don’t drive or walk through flood waters. Flood water can contain dangerous debris, downed power lines, and other risks. Do not attempt to walk, swim, wade or drive through flood waters.
- Impact assessments will begin this morning along the Gulf Coast.
Federal Support Mobilized for Robust Response to Hurricane Laura
- President Trump amended the emergency declarations for Louisiana and Texas, expanding the declarations to cover emergency protective response actions taken by state, local and tribal officials. The President’s action authorizes FEMA to coordinate all disaster relief efforts which have the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population, and to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures.
- This morning, President Trump approved an Emergency Declaration for Arkansas. This emergency declaration authorized FEMA to provide emergency protective measures (Category B), including direct federal assistance, under the Public Assistance program at 75 percent federal funding.
- FEMA has mobilized federal response teams to support Louisiana, Texas and Arkansas response efforts to the Hurricane.
- Regional Incident Management Assistance Teams (IMATs) are in place in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas state operations centers. National IMATs are also deployed to Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Denton, Texas. Additionally, several members of the national IMAT are deployed to Louisiana and Texas operation centers to coordinate with the regional IMAT in the state. An additional fully missional capable IMAT is ready to deploy, if needed.
- Four Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) Teams have deployed to Texas and Louisiana. A FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Incident Support Team is in Louisiana to coordinate with the state. Six additional water rescue capable US&R Teams are en route to Louisiana and two additional teams en route to Texas. Additional teams, including up to three Quick Response Teams, are on alert to deploy if necessary.
- FEMA deployed staging management teams to Camp Beauregard Louisiana and Roseland, Louisiana. A National Incident Support Base Team Delta is in Selma, Alabama to support staging commodity missions.
- Mobile disaster communications equipment is prepositioned in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Austin, Texas to support staging and command and control operations. Additional equipment and personnel have been deployed to Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Fort Worth, Texas.
- FEMA pre-positioned commodities such as meals and water ahead of Hurricane Laura.
- More than 500,000 meals and 800,000 liters of water are prepositioned at the Roseland Staging Area and Camp Beauregard in Louisiana. Blue Roof Sheeting, Infant Toddler Kits and generators are also pre-positioned at Camp Beauregard. Additionally, FEMA placed more than 3 million meals and 970,000 liters of water on standby at its distribution center in Fort Worth, Texas.
- Further commodities including meals, water, Infant and Toddler Kits and generators have been requested by Region 6.
- FEMA and its federal partners are moving assets and teams into areas impacted by Hurricane Laura.
- Temporary Roofing planning and response teams are in Louisiana and Texas.
- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Temporary Emergency Power Teams, an Advanced Contract Initiative contractor, 249th Prime Power Battalion personnel and debris subject matter experts are in Texas and Louisiana.
- USACE is providing flood fight support with technical assistance to the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-West using the Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System. Additionally, USACE is implementing response plans for dam safety teams, deploying a sand bagging machine and operators to Hancock County, Mississippi and issuing sandbags and sandbagging machines for areas in Louisiana and Texas.
- U.S. Coast Guard pre-positioned assets including rotary and fixed wing aircrafts, shallow watercrafts and supporting units in Alabama and Louisiana.
- Additional personnel from across the federal government, including the Department of Defense, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Department of Transportation, Health and Human Services and the Department of Energy deployed and available to provide support.
- FEMA maintains contracts, mission assignments and other staffing augmentation capabilities, including the Surge Capacity Force (SCF). The SCF provided more than 4,000 talented federal staff to support immediate response and recovery requirements when activated during 2017. More than 8,000 federal staff are currently rostered in the SCF to support, if activated.
Federal Support Mobilized for California Wildfires
- President Trump approved a major disaster declaration for California. The declaration includes grants to individuals and households, and emergency work in eight counties impacted by wildfires.
- Residents and business owners in Lake, Monterey, Napa, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma, and Yolo counties who have disaster-caused damage are encouraged to begin applying for assistance at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or via the FEMA app.
- Region 9 has deployed an Incident Management Assistance Team to the California state operations center to coordinate federal support to the ongoing wildfire responses, and the state of California in their wildfire response.
- Additional mobile disaster communications equipment is en route to Mather, California, to support staging and command and control operations. Two staging management teams deployed to Lathrop, California.
- FEMA approved Fire Management Assistance Grants (FMAG) to California for the CZU Lightning Complex in Santa Cruz and San Mateo counties, the LNU Lightning Fire Complex in Napa, Lake, Solano, Sonoma, and Yolo counties, the SCU Lightning Fire Complex in Santa Clara and Stanislaus counties, the Jones Fire in Nevada county, the Carmel and the River Fires in Monterey county and the Sheep Fire in Lassen county.
- FMAGs provide federal funding for up to 75 percent of eligible firefighting costs to assist in fighting fires that threaten to cause major disasters. Eligible costs covered by FMAGs can include expenses for field camps, equipment use, materials, supplies and mobilization, and demobilization activities attributed to fighting the fire.
- To address COVID-19 sheltering needs, this year FEMA has adjusted the FMAG program to include the reimbursement of costs to state and local governments for non-congregate emergency sheltering, such as hotel rooms.
Responding During COVID-19
- We will continue to work with our state, tribal and local partners as they plan for execution of evacuation and sheltering operations in a COVID-19 environment. Finding shelter is critical in times of disaster. Shelter outside of the hazard area could include staying with family or friends, seeking a hotel room or staying in a mass shelter.
- FEMA, other federal agencies and the American Red Cross have modified policies and planning and have taken actions to ensure the federal government can respond to any disaster during our continued coronavirus response efforts.
- In alignment with FEMA’s Pandemic Operational Guidance, FEMA is leveraging technology to deliver the agency’s programs at the highest level possible, while preserving our workforce and survivors. These methods include virtual damage assessments and inspections for FEMA Individual Assistance and Public Assistance programs, as well as National Flood Insurance Program claims.
- While some aspects of program delivery may look different this year, our commitment to helping people before, during and after disaster remains our full focus and we are ready to deliver on our mission.
- In advance of hurricane and wildfire season, FEMA expanded the capacity of its National Response Coordination Center, response centers around the country, and trained additional staff to be postured to respond to multiple on-going incidents.
Stay Alert to Continuing Risks; Heed Local Officials’ Instructions
- Hurricane Laura made landfall as a major hurricane early in the morning of Aug. 27 in Cameron, Louisiana. The storm brought life-threatening storm surge, extreme winds and flash flooding to large areas along the Gulf Coast. The storm will move inland and affect much of the lower Ohio and Tennessee Valleys within 48 – 72 hours.
- Widespread flash flooding along streams, rivers and roadways is expected over the next 24 hours.
- Residents in Louisiana, Arkansas and Texas who were in the path of Hurricane Laura should follow guidance from officials in their area.
- If you have been evacuated, do not return until local officials tell you it is safe to do so.
- Texas residents should visit gov.texas.gov/hurricane which includes evacuation orders, reception center locations, and other emergency resources. For answers to additional questions, call 2-1-1. Louisiana residents should call 2-1-1 for evacuation, sheltering and resources for immediate needs.
If you have any questions, please contact FEMA Office of External Affairs:
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