Recent Press Releases

Washington, DC —  Senator John Thune today issued the following statement regarding the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) decision to authorize the use of federal funds to help with firefighting costs for the East Ridge Fire:

"I'm pleased to see the federal government has responded quickly and efficiently to deliver emergency relief to manage the East Ridge Fire and help those in harm's way," Thune said. "My West River staff has been in close contact with officials and constituents in Meade and Pennington Counties and remains on standby to provide assistance where it is needed. My thoughts and prayers are with those families and individuals threatened by this dangerous fire."

FEMA Director David Paulison approved South Dakota's request for a federal Fire Management Assistance Grant Thursday after confirming that the fire was threatening four subdivisions with more than 300 homes, and at least 10 area businesses.

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 on state and private land. The funds do not provide financial assistance to individual households and businesses.

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 emergency traffic control, sheltering and police barricading; field camps; equipment use, repair and replacement; mobilization and demobilization activities; and tools, materials and supplies.