Gov. Rick Perry today announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has granted the state's repeated request to expand its major disaster declaration to include 119 counties eligible for wildfire assistance, and extend the incident period from April 6, 2011, through August 29, 2011. The original declaration issued by FEMA on July 1, 2011, covered wildfires between April 6, 2011, and May 3, 2011, and only included 45 counties.
"Texas has experienced one of the worst wildfire seasons in recent memory," Gov. Perry said. "This extension provides much-needed relief for counties whose first responders bravely fought the high winds and extreme heat day after day as devastating wildfires threatened their homes and communities."
Counties included in the expanded major disaster declaration can receive up to a 75 percent reimbursement for eligible expenses. The declaration was expanded to include Childress and Deaf Smith counties, which were granted all categories of Public Assistance, and the following 65 counties, which were granted Category B Public Assistance (Emergency Protective Measures): Anderson, Bastrop, Blanco, Briscoe, Brooks, Brown, Burnet, Cass, Coke, Coryell, Crane, Crosby, Culberson, Dickens, Donley, Foard, Franklin, Frio, Gonzales, Hansford, Hardeman, Hardin, Harrison, Haskell, Houston, Howard, Hutchinson, Jack, Jasper, Jim Hogg, Jones, Kimble, Knox, Lamar, Lamb, Lampasas, Lee, Leon, Live Oak, Marion, Mills, Montague, Morris, Newton, Nolan, Ochiltree, Oldham, Panola, Potter, Randall, Reagan, Red River, Roberts, Rusk, Sabine, San Augustine, San Saba, Shackelford, Somervell, Swisher, Upton, Walker, Wheeler, Wilbarger and Winkler.
Since the governor's initial statewide disaster proclamation on Dec. 21, 2010, Texas has responded to more than 26,000 fires that have burned more than 3.9 million acres. State and local response costs are estimated at more than $330 million. Since this summer, the state has repeatedly appealed to FEMA to expand this declaration to include more fire ravaged communities.
The Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) will continue to work with affected local governments to ensure eligible expenses are recorded and submitted to FEMA for reimbursement. Entities that were not included in this declaration should contact TDEM to determine if their damages meet the independent county thresholds set by FEMA.