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Office of the Governor Rick Perry

Gov. Perry visits counties affected by wildfires in North Texas.

Friday, April 17, 2009  •  Press Release

AUSTIN – Gov. Rick Perry has requested a major presidential disaster declaration for Callahan, Clay, Jack, Montague, Wichita and Young counties, and reiterated the need for an emergency declaration for 199 Texas counties due to recent wildfires. The governor today met with local officials and toured areas in North Texas recently devastated by wildfires.

“I hope the sight of this devastation will underscore the need for the federal government to not only assist these communities in recovering from these devastating wildfires, but also combat wildfires that continue to burn across our state,” Gov. Perry said. “Our hearts go out to the families and communities that have lost so much, and we pledge to continue working with local officials to prevent any further loss of life and property.”

During the Easter weekend, wildfires in 12 counties burned more than 155,000 acres and destroyed 94 homes in the area. Nearly 300 homes in Montague County were evacuated. To date, more than 400,000 acres have been burned this year by wildfires, with more than 200 homes destroyed and a substantial number of livestock injured or killed.

An emergency disaster declaration would provide federal assets and firefighting resources to assist the state in battling ongoing fires. The governor originally requested this declaration on February 24, and was denied on March 17. An appeal on was sent on March 20.

If approved, a major presidential disaster declaration would provide for:
·    Individual Assistance, including the Individual & Households Program (IHP), disaster legal services, disaster unemployment assistance, crisis counseling, and small business administration disaster loans;
·    Public Assistance Categories A and B, including pre-staging reimbursement for state and local governments and debris removal; and
·    Hazard Mitigation statewide.

The Texas Forest Service, Texas Department of Transportation, Texas Military Forces, Texas Animal Health Commission, Texas AgriLife Extension Service, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and Texas Department of Agriculture have responded to recent wildfires in Texas communities. Additionally, 43 fire departments from Dallas, Tarrant, Denton, Ellis, Grayson and Collin counties have responded to the wildfires to support efforts by local fire departments from the affected area.
To read the governor’s letter to the president, please view letter to President Obama.

Below are satellite coordinates to view KXAN’s pool video feed from Gov. Perry’s tour:

6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. CDT
Downlink 12011V
SR 3.9787
DR 5.5
FEC 3/4

Gov. Perry surveying the damage in a county devastated by wildfire.
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