Sequester Affects Federal Fire Grant Programs

The sequester, or automatic $85 billion across-the-board federal budget cuts that are now a reality, will mean less funding for the USFA as well as SAFER and FIRE Act grants and wildland fire management programs.

The International Association of Fire Chiefs says a number of programs will suffer by the sequester.

  • The U.S. Fire Administration will be cut by $2 million.
  • DHS State and Local Programs (including the FIRE and SAFER grant programs) will be cut by a total of $117 million.
  • The U.S. Forest Service’s wildland-fire management account will be cut by $125 million.
  • The U.S. Department of Interior’s wildland-fire management account will be cut by $38 million.
  • The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration's Hazardous Materials Safety Account will be cut by $2 million and the Hazardous Materials Emergency Preparedness Grants will be cut by $1 million.
  • Medicare will reduce reimbursements to providers by 2% starting on April 1, and there may be a delay in receiving reimbursements.

Grants that have been awarded are not in jeopardy according to the IAFC.

In a letter sent Monday afternoon, a FEMA grants directorate wrote: “As a consequence, all federal agencies, including FEMA, will have to implement steep funding cuts, begining in the current fiscal year. Leadership throughout FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security have been working hard to determine how we might best mitigate the impact of possible sequestration budget reductions on our state, local, tribal, territorial, nonprofit and private sector partners.”

Acting Assistant Administrator of Grants David J. Kaufman added that FEMA’s funding for state and local grants is being reduced by about five percent. The action will result in a reduction of about $104 million, according to the letter.

“We recognize the hardships that sequestration is likely to cause and thank you for your cooperation as we work together to manage these unfortunate circumstances,” he wrote adding. “We value the important work that you do and appreciate your dedication to the security and resilience of the nation.”