FEMA Awards $1.4 Million to Chelan County Public Utility District for Wildfire Assistance


DUPONT, Wash. – (RealEstateRama) — More than $1.4 million has been awarded to the Chelan County Public Utility District No. 1 to help reimburse the utility for costs to restore power to thousands of residents during the summer 2015 wildfires, according to officials from the Washington Military Department’s Emergency Management Division (EMD) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

The utility district will receive $1,459,947 from FEMA for reimbursement of expenses to restore power to 9,000 customers. The grant helps cover costs for replacing burned poles, damaged transformers, utility lines and miles of fiber optic line. The money will also help pay the cost of overtime for employees who worked around the clock to restore service.

“The utility district worked tirelessly to meet the needs of its customers during the wildfires,” said State Coordinating Officer Kurt Hardin of EMD. “This federal grant will help the district recover some of the enormous costs it incurred in doing so.”

The grant comes from FEMA’s Public Assistance (PA) program, which reimburse the state and state agencies, local and tribal governments, and certain private nonprofit organizations for their eligible expenses for disaster-related response and recovery.

Although funds go to government entities and nonprofits, the PA program is intended to benefit everyone — communities, cities and states. PA dollars help pay for efforts to keep residents and property safe during an event and clean up communities of disaster-related debris. They also help put utilities, roads and bridges, public parks and other infrastructure back in order after the disaster.

The disaster declaration for the Aug. 9 to Sept. 10, 2015, wildfires makes PA grants available to eligible applicants in Chelan, Ferry, Lincoln, Okanogan, Pend Oreille, Stevens, Whatcom and Yakima counties and the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation.

“FEMA has been working closely with EMD since the wildfire outbreak this summer, and our commitment to Washington’s recovery remains strong,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Thomas Dargan of FEMA. “These Public Assistance funds are a demonstration of that commitment.”

Under the PA program, FEMA reimburses applicants for 75 percent of eligible expenses, while the other 25 percent is the nonfederal share. The federal portion is paid directly to the state, which then makes disbursements to the local and tribal jurisdictions and organizations that incurred costs.

More information about the PA program is available at www.fema.gov/public-assistance-local-state-tribal-and-non-profit and on the Washington EMD website at http://mil.wa.gov/emergency-management-division/.

Information regarding the federal response to the summer wildfires, including funds obligated, is available at www.fema.gov/disaster/4243.

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