The Grantee is the State or Indian Tribal government that receives an FMAGP grant and is accountable for the use of the funds provided. Except in an instance where there is a State Grantee and an Indian Tribal Grantee under the same fire declaration, there can be only one Grantee for each declared fire. That means that two offices in the same State cannot be designated as Grantee, nor can offices from two States be designated as Grantee. Only the State agency, as designated by the Governor or GAR in the FEMA-State Agreement for FMAGP for the declared fire, or an Indian Tribal government, can de designated as the Grantee.
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Grant Application Package
The FMAGP grant application package consists of the following forms (copies are in the Forms section of this site):
- Standard Form 424 Request for Federal Assistance;
- FEMA Form 20-16 Summary Sheets for Assurances and Certifications;
- FEMA Form 20-16A Assurances – Non-Construction Programs;
- FEMA Form 20-16C Certifications Regarding Lobbying; Debarment, Suspension and Other Responsibility Matters; and Drug-Free Workplace Requirements;
- FEMA Form 20-20 Budget Information – Non-Construction Programs;
- FEMA Form 90-133 Request for Fire Management Assistance Subgrant (RFMAS); and
- FEMA Form 90-91 Project Worksheet (PW).
In support of the budget information form (Forms 20-20), all subgrant applications (consisting of the RFMAS and PWs) must be submitted as attachments to the grant application package.
The FEMA Regional Fire Duty Liaison is responsible for reviewing the grant application package for FMAGP eligibility and reasonableness of cost. A Regional grants management specialist is responsible for approving the grant award and obligating funds.
Initial Grant Application and Approval Timeframe. The State must submit its initial grant application (Standard Form 424) no later than 9 months after the date of the fire declaration. Depending on extenuating circumstances, such as delay in receiving bills for Federal resources ordered, the State may submit a written request for a time extension to the Regional Director. The request for a time extension must provide a detailed justification for the delay and need for the extension. Upon receipt of the written request from the State, the Regional Director may approve a time extension for up to 3 months.
The FEMA Regional Director has 45 days from the receipt of the State’s initial grant application, or an amendment to the State’s grant application, to approve or deny the application package or amendment, or to notify the State of a delay. Note that before the Regional Director can approve the State’s grant application, the State must demonstrate that it has:
- Met the fire cost threshold;
- Has an approved State Administrative Plan; and
- Has an approved State Mitigation Plan.
Fire Cost Threshold. Prior to approval, the State’s grant application must meet either the individual fire cost threshold or the cumulative fire cost threshold. When submitting the initial grant application, the State only needs to submit costs up to the amount that meets or exceeds the calendar year fire cost threshold even if additional costs are anticipated. Amendments to the initial grant application may be submitted thereafter, increasing the overall value of the grant. Should an amendment ever decrease the overall value of the grant so that the grant falls below the fire cost threshold, the grant will be de-obligated in its entirety.
Individual Fire Cost Threshold: The individual fire cost threshold is based on total eligible costs for the declared fire. The individual fire cost threshold for a State is the greater of the following:
- $100,000; or
- 5% x $1.18 ($1.18 is the 2006 statewide per capita indicator. The indicator is adjusted annually for inflation using the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers published annually by the Department of Labor) x the State population.
Cumulative Fire Cost Threshold: The cumulative fire cost threshold is based on total eligible costs incurred during the calendar year for all declared fires and total costs incurred on non-declared wildland fires (Federal costs not billed/payable by the State cannot be included in this calculation). The cumulative fire cost threshold for a State is the greater of the following:
- $500,000; or
- Three times the 5% x $1.18 x State population.
To demonstrate that the individual or cumulative fire cost threshold has been met, the State must document the total eligible costs for a declared fire on PWs (FEMA Form 90-91). The cost for the pre-positioning of wildland firefighting resources is not considered when determining whether a grant application meets the fire cost threshold.
The costs for all eligible fires within a declared fire complex are aggregated and treated as an individual fire for purposes of meeting or exceeding the fire thresholds.
It is important to note that the fire cost thresholds for each State are adjusted annually. See the Job Aids section of this site for FY 2006 Fire Cost Thresholds.
State Administrative Plan. The State must develop an Administrative Plan (or have a current FEMA-approved Administrative Plan on file with the FEMA Regional Office) that describes the procedures for administering the FMAGP. It may be a stand-alone plan or it may be an addendum to the Public Assistance Program State Administrative Plan. At a minimum, the stand-alone Administrative Plan or addendum must include:
- The designation of the State agency (i.e., Grantee) that will have responsibility for program administration;
- The identification of staffing functions for FMAGP, the sources of staff to fill these functions, and the management and oversight responsibilities of each;
- The procedures for:
- Notifying potential applicants of the availability of the program;
- Assisting FEMA in determining applicant eligibility;
- Submitting, reviewing, and transmitting subgrant applications, performance reports, and financial reports to the FEMA Regional Office;
- Processing payment requests for subgrantees;
- Recovering funds for disallowed costs;
- Processing appeal requests and requests for time extensions; and
- Providing technical assistance and materials on the application procedures, program eligibility guidance, and program deadlines.
The State should review its Administrative Plan for FMAGP annually and make necessary amendments to reflect changes in programmatic guidance or signatory parties. The State may request the Regional Director to provide technical assistance in preparing the State Administrative Plan.
State Mitigation Plan (SMP). Section 322 of the Stafford Act requires States, Tribes, and local governments to take a proactive approach to mitigation planning. This section, as implemented by 44 C.F.R. Part 201, emphasizes the need for State, Tribal, and local entities to closely coordinate mitigation planning and implementation efforts.
Before a State grant application can be approved, the State must:
- Develop an SMP in accordance with 44 CFR Part 206, with 44 CFR Part 201 that addresses wildfire risks and mitigation measures; or
- Incorporate wildfire mitigation into an existing SMP developed and approved in accordance with 44 CFR Part 206, Subpart M that addresses wildfire risks and contains a wildfire mitigation strategy and related mitigation initiatives.
The intent in requiring hazard mitigation planning to receive FMAGP grants is to identify wildfire hazards and cost-effective mitigation alternatives that produce long-term benefits.
A State or Indian Tribal government that does not have an approved SMP per 44 CFR §204.51(d)(2), and intends to apply for assistance under the fire declaration, must formally submit an acceptable SMP for FEMA review and approval within 30 days of signing the amendment to the FEMA-State Agreement (Exhibit E). FEMA then has 45 days, whenever possible, to review the SMP.
If the State does not have an approved SMP and fails to submit its SMP within the designated timeframe, FEMA will deny the State or Indian Tribal government grant application.
In coordination with FEMA, the Grantee is responsible for managing a FMAGP grant under a fire management assistance declaration. Grantee responsibilities include the following:
- Submits the grant application package for FMAGP to the FEMA Regional Director for review and approval;
- Manages the administration and operation of FMAGP in coordination with FEMA;
- Conducts closeouts;
- Obtains audits;
- Disburses funding to subgrantees; and
- Monitors subgrant awards.
The Grantee serves as the primary contact for transactions with and on behalf of applicants applying for a fire management assistance subgrant. The Grantee is responsible for submitting all subgrant requests (RFMAS – FEMA Form 90-133) and PWs (FEMA Form 90-91) to FEMA for review and approval as part of the grant application package. By doing this, the Grantee is certifying that applicant eligibility and costs for work performed in the wildland firefighting activities comply with FEMA laws, regulations, policy, and guidance applicable to FMAGP, as well as the terms and conditions outlined for the administration of the grant in the FMAGP FEMA-State Agreement. During the closeout process or an audit, should funds be disallowed, the Grantee is responsible for recovery of funds.
Eligible Subgrant Entities. State and Indian Tribal governmental agencies not designated as Grantee, as well as local governmental entities, are eligible to submit applications for fire management assistance subgrants to the Grantee. When an Indian Tribal government is serving as a dual Grantee under the State’s declaration, all Indian Tribal government entities applying for subgrants must submit their applications through the Indian Tribal government Grantee.
Privately owned and volunteer entities are not eligible subgrantees, but may be reimbursed through a contract or Mutual Aid compact with an eligible subgrantee. Volunteer labor may also be used to offset the non-Federal share of the fire management assistance grant. Volunteer entities may not be reimbursed but can be used as donated labor.
Subgrantee eligibility is contingent upon a finding that the Incident Commander or comparable State official, such as the State Forester, State Emergency Manager or Governor’s Authorized Representative, requested the applying entity’s resources, and that the activities performed by the applying entity were required as a result of the declared fire, were the legal responsibility of the applying entity, and were located within the designated area.
Subgrant Application Request. State, Indian Tribal, and local governments interested in applying for FMAGP subgrants must submit a RFMAS (FEMA Form 90-133) to the Grantee in accordance with State procedures and within the timeframe established by the Grantee, but no later than 30 days after the close of the incident period. Under extenuating circumstances, the Regional Director may approve an applicant’s request for an additional 30 days to submit its RFMAS. A copy of FEMA Form 90-133 can be found in the Forms section of this site.
The RFMAS is an applicant’s official notification to both the Grantee and FEMA of its intent to apply for a subgrant. The form includes information identifying the applicant, including the applicant’s name, address, and primary and secondary contacts. The Grantee reviews the RFMAS and forwards it to the FEMA Regional Office. The Regional Director then determines applicant eligibility based on FEMA laws, regulations, policy, and guidance applicable to FMAGP and informs the Grantee of his/her determination. The Grantee then notifies the applicant. If approved, the subgrant application process may begin.
Subgrant Project Worksheets. After approving an applying entity’s RFMAS, FEMA Regional Staff may begin to work with the Grantee and local staff to prepare PWs (FEMA Form 90-91). PWs are the forms that FEMA uses to document actual costs incurred by eligible applicants in performing eligible wildland firefighting activities. The Regional Director may request the Principal Advisor to assist with PW preparation. A copy of FEMA Form 90-91 can be found in the Forms section of this site.
Subgrantees should submit all PWs to the Grantee for review. The Grantee submits them to the Regional Director as part of its grant application. PWs less than $1,000 are not eligible under FMAGP.
The Grantee determines the deadline for applicants to submit PWs, but the deadline will be no later than 6 months from the close of the incident period. At the request of the Grantee, the Regional Director may approve a 3-month extension for the submittal of PWs.
Appeals of Eligibility
An eligible applicant, subgrantee or grantee may appeal any grant-related determination made by FEMA. This includes determinations on applicant eligibility, work eligibility, and cost.
Levels of Appeals. There are two levels of appeal to FEMA. The first level is to the Regional Director. The Regional Director’s decision may be appealed to the Recovery Division Director in the National Office for a second and final level of appeal. All appeals must be filed within 60 days after the receipt of the determination that is being appealed.
Applicants must submit all appeals to the Regional Director through the Grantee. The Grantee reviews the appeals and forwards them with a written recommendation to the Regional Director within 60 days of receipt.
Appeals should contain documented justification supporting the appellant’s position, specifying the determination in dispute and the provisions in Federal law, regulation, or policy with which the appellant believes the initial action was inconsistent.
Within 90 days following receipt of a Grantee or subgrantee appeal, the Regional Director for first appeals or Recovery Division Director in the National Office for second appeals notifies the Grantee in writing of the disposition of the appeal or of the need for additional information.
A request by the Regional Director or Recovery Division Director in the National Office for additional information will include a date by which the information must be provided. Within 90 days following the receipt of the requested additional information, or following expiration of the period for providing the information, the Regional Director or Recovery Division Director notifies the Grantee in writing of the disposition of the appeal. If the decision is to grant the appeal, the Regional Director or Recovery Division Director takes appropriate implementing action.
In appeals involving highly technical issues, the Regional Director or Recovery Division Director may submit the appeal to an independent scientific or technical person or group for advice or recommendation. The period for this technical review may be in addition to other allotted time periods. Within 90 days of receipt of a technical report, the Regional Director or Recovery Division Director notifies the Grantee in writing of the disposition of the appeal.
All fire management assistance grants are subject to a cost share. The Federal cost share for all fire management assistance grants is 75 percent. All terms and conditions are outlined in the FEMA-State Agreement and apply to all declared fires within each calendar year. The 25 percent non-Federal cost share can be paid in its entirety by the Grantee, subgrantee, or a combination of the two. Under the FMAGP, there is no cost-share adjustment. The grant application for each declared fire is subject to the 75 percent Federal cost share.
Duplication of Assistance
FEMA may not duplicate benefits received by or available to the applicant from insurance, other assistance programs, legal awards, or any other source to address the same purpose. An subgrantee must notify FEMA of all benefits that it receives or anticipates to receive from other sources for the same purpose and must seek all such benefits available to them. FEMA will reduce the grant by the amount available for the same purpose from other sources.
Assistance may be provided under FMAGP when other benefits are available to an applicant, but the applicant will be liable to FEMA for any duplicative amounts that it receives or has available to it from other sources, and must repay FEMA for such amounts.
FEMA does not provide assistance that duplicates activities for which another Federal agency has more specific or primary authority to provide assistance for the same purpose. FEMA may disallow or recoup amounts that fall within another Federal agency’s statutory authority. The FMAGP may provide funding assistance under Part 204, but the applicant must agree to seek assistance from the appropriate Federal agency and to repay FEMA for amounts that are within another agency’s authority. It is the applicant’s responsibility to notify FEMA of any duplicate costs recovered from another Federal agency.
Negligence and Intentional Acts
FEMA may not provide assistance to an applicant for costs attributable to its own negligence or that of a third party. If the applicant suspects negligence or intentional acts by a third party for contributing to the igniting a declared fire, the applicant is responsible for taking all commercially reasonable steps to recover costs from the third party. Any recovered costs are considered duplicated benefits and need to be remitted to FEMA.
To ensure that applicants take reasonable steps toward cost recovery and possible prosecution of responsible entities, applicants are asked to document their liability findings and proposed plan of action. The Grantee must work with the State’s Attorney General to pursue legal avenues to recover costs from any third party responsible for a declared fire. This includes declared fires that were “local responsibility” fires for which a State submitted a declaration request. The State’s decision to prosecute for damages from a liable third party must be documented and signed by the State’s Attorney General, and provided by the Grantee to the Regional Office as part of the State’s initial grant application or as a subsequent amendment.
If FEMA determines an applicant has not made reasonable efforts to recover costs from third parties responsible for igniting a declared fire, FEMA may withhold or recoup funding from the applicant. FEMA recognizes, however, that it may not be feasible or cost effective for applicants to pursue cost recovery from all third parties responsible for igniting a declared fire.
A person or third party shall not be held liable as a result of actions that person or entity takes or omits in the course of rendering care or assistance in response to the declared fire. In addition, if the applicant chooses not to prosecute a third party whose intentional acts contributed to the costs incurred by the declared fire, FEMA reserves the right to do so.
Grantee. The Grantee may claim both direct and indirect administrative costs for extraordinary costs associated with requesting, obtaining, and administering a grant for a declared fire. Direct costs include regular and overtime pay and travel expenses for permanent, reassigned, temporary, and contract employees who assist in administering the fire management assistance grant.
Funding for other direct costs incurred by the Grantee administering a fire management assistance grant, such as equipment and supply purchases, may be eligible, but must be reviewed by the Regional Director. “State management costs”, as such, are not eligible under FMAGP, however, most items considered to be State management costs may be reimbursed under FMAGP as administrative costs pursuant to OMB Circular A-87 and 44 CFR Part 204.
Indirect costs incurred by the Grantee during the administration of a grant are allowed in accordance with the provisions of 44 CFR Part 13 and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-87. The Grantee must submit a copy of the indirect cost letter from the Cognizant Agency along with the PW for indirect costs. The PW is reviewed by FEMA’s Disaster Finance Center for reasonableness and eligibility.
Costs included in the computation of the indirect cost rate are not allowable as direct administrative costs.
Subgrantee. The subgrantee may claim extraordinary costs associated with requesting, obtaining, and administering a subgrant for a declared fire. Direct costs include regular and overtime pay and travel expenses for permanent, reassigned, temporary, and contract employees who assist in administering the fire management assistance subgrant.
Funding for other direct costs incurred by the subgrantee administering a subgrant, such as equipment and supply purchases, may be eligible, but must be reviewed by the Grantee and Regional Director.
Subgrantees may not claim indirect administrative costs.
Closeout for all fire management assistance grants must meet the requirements set forth in 44 CFR Part 13, Subpart D. The purpose of closeout is to certify that all eligible costs have been reimbursed. During the closeout process, estimated costs are reconciled with actual costs. It is the Grantee’s responsibility to document all costs associated with the eligible wildland firefighting activities. Failure to properly document any project may result in loss of funding for any claimed work. The Grantee is responsible for making sure that all documentation on PWs is accurate, complete, and up to date for closeout.
Closeout shall be completed 90 days after the performance period expiration date. The performance period is the time interval designated in Block 13 on Standard Form 424 for the Grantee and all subgrantees to submit eligible costs and have those costs processed, obligated, and closed out by FEMA. During closeout, the Grantee submits a final Financial Status Report (FEMA Form 20-10), which reports all costs incurred within the incident period and all administrative costs incurred within the performance period.
A fire management assistance grant is ready to be closed when all funds have been distributed and all documentation is complete. FEMA or the State can begin the closeout process. The FEMA Regional Office should begin the closeout process with a letter of inquiry, followed by a letter of intent to proceed with the closeout when no other justification can be provided to keep the grant open.
Recipients of FMAGP grants and subgrants are required to comply with the provisions set forth in OMB Circular A-133. Circular A-133 requires grant or subgrant recipients expending $500,000 or more in Federal funds in a fiscal year to obtain a single audit. Specific information pertaining to the audit requirements of each State is outlined in their respective State Administration Plans. States must abide by both Federal and State audit requirements.
Even though a single audit is required, grant recipients may also subject to additional audit efforts by the Department of Homeland Security and/or FEMA Office of Inspector General and State auditors for items not covered under the single audit. Specific documentation and procedures are based on the requirements of the OMB. The OMB requires grant receipts to maintain financial and program records for 3 years following final payment. The Office of Inspector General may independently, or at the National Office’s request, initiate an audit of a Grantee or subgrantee for a particular fire or fire complex.
In some instances, State law and procedures may require paperwork to be saved for a longer time. It is important for grant recipients to check the specific audit requirements and statutes that govern their State.