THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
Statement by President Clinton on Fires on Long Island, N.Y.
Tonight in Suffolk County, N.Y., firefighters and other emergency workers are heroically fighting several dangerous fires that have forced the evacuation of hundreds of people, including residents of two nursing homes among other facilities.
In order to help the state and county governments sustain these efforts without worry of financial hardships, I have tonight authorized fire suppression grants which will allow the Federal Emergency Management Agency to reimburse the state for most of the costs associated with the emergency operations.
I have also directed the mobilization of resources of the U.S. Forest Service to provide direct assistance in fighting the fires, including all necessary equipment and teams of particular expertise in fighting wild land fires. They are on their way. I have directed FEMA Director James Lee Witt and Assistant Secretary of Agriculture Jim Lyons to go to New York tonight to manage the federal firefighting effort. Fires are frightening, and I know that the residents of these areas are going through difficult times. Our hearts and our prayers are with them, and we commend the efforts of all of those people on Long Island who are valiantly working to contain these blazes.