Kansas reimburses Clark County $260,000 for firefighting costs

By Tom Kuhns
Clark County Gazette – May 9, 2018
Submitted by Newz Group – June 8, 2018

Officials from the Kansas Department of Emergency Management were in Ashland last week to present a series of checks to Clark County.

The money was the State’s reimbursement for firefighting efforts during last year’s Starbuck Fire.

“They brought us three checks from the State that totaled $260,000,” said Clark County Emergency Manager Millie Fudge. “That money is to be distributed to the County fire departments, which get the most.”

“Other entities that got some money were some County offices that were EOC that ran the fire,” she added.

She did not disclose exact amounts to each entity involved.

Fudge also said all “mutual aid” fire departments that responded to the devastating fire would receive reimbursement as well.

“All of the fire departments get a check for the use of their equipment,” Millie explained, “not manpower, that’s all volunteer.”

However, while the County was not allowed to claim reimbursement for firefighters’ time, Fudge said that the County was allowed to claim services from other volunteers.

“Reimbursement is made by the State of Kansas on a 75-25 percent share,” she said. “On a fire we have to come up with 25%.”

“What enabled us to get the money back was documentation, but it was also volunteers.”

Fudge said that any volunteer labor from the community, including farmers who plowed firebreaks and other individuals who fed firefighters at the school, helped Clark County meet its 25% in-kind requirement.

“All of those volunteers enabled us to get this money,” she noted. “It would have been substantially less.”

Fudge said that in addition to the money that went to Clark County, the State of Kansas paid out an additional $700,000 to out-of-state Forestry Service firefighters and to aircraft involved in the fire.

As the state officials were in Ashland last week, Fudge said she was informed of an interesting development in the annuls of state record keeping-somewhere along the line the fire had undergone an official name change.

“The fire in Clark County is actually named Clark County Wildfire FMAG 5171,” she stated. “Even though it started out as the ‘Starbuck Fire’ in Beaver County.”

“Each of the seven entities that had a fire that week and applied for FMAG and got it (Fire Management Assistance Grant) had a number. Ours was 5171.

“It’s just a name, it doesn’t matter,” she added with a chuckle. “It will probably always be referred to as the ‘Starbuck Fire’. That’s just because that’s what everybody knows it by.”

 

Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
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