NEWSnet/AP) – A coalition of environment, labor and health groups has urged the Federal Emergency Management Agency to consider extreme heat and wildlife smoke situations eligible for federal disaster assistance.

The Center for Biological Diversity, one of the groups involved in the effort, announced the request Monday, just as a major heat wave started to stretch across several states.

“It’s urgent that FEMA treats intensifying heat waves and wildfire smoke as the major climate disasters they are,” said Jean Su, energy justice director and senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity.

The agency did not immediately issue a specific response to the petition.

A FEMA spokesperson for the western U.S. states said there was nothing that would prevent an emergency declaration for extreme heat, but noted that there would need to be an immediate threat to life and safety that local authorities could not respond to.

The procedure for allocating federal disaster funding follows the Stafford Act, which calls for a request to be submitted from a state, tribal or local government under eligible situations. In recent months, FEMA disaster declarations have been issued in for situations such as tornadoes and flooding.

FEMA also hosted a #SummerReady Extreme Heat Summit in April, focusing on steps that state, local and leaders and emergency managers can take to assist their residents during a heat wave.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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