WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced today that President Clinton has ordered federal emergency aid for Texas because of the extreme threat to populated areas posed by the recent outbreak of wildfires.
FEMA Director James Lee Witt said the President took the action this afternoon after the agency reported that severe drought conditions have sparked some 217 wildfires, which burned more than 23,300 acres of land and threatened numerous communities since August 1.
Witt said the President's emergency declaration authorizes FEMA to make direct federal assistance available to pay 75 percent of the cost for emergency measures needed to save lives, protect property, and insure public health and safety in 227 of the state's counties. The funding includes costs for the required mobilizing and advanced staging of federal and state firefighting resources.
Under the declaration, reimbursement of the state's cost for fighting wildland fires will continue to be authorized under FEMA's fire suppression grant program, Witt said.
The counties designated eligible for the emergency aid by Witt after the declaration are: Anderson, Andrews, Angelina, Archer, Armstrong, Austin, Bailey, Bandera, Bastrop, Baylor, Bell, Bexar, Blanco, Borden, Bosque, Bowie, Brazoria, Brazos, Brewster, Briscoe, Brown, Burleson, Burnet, Caldwell, Calhoun, Callahan, Camp, Carson, Cass, Castro, Chambers, Cherokee, Childress, Clay, Cochran, Coke, Coleman, Collin, Collingsworth, Colorado, Comal, Comanche, Concho, Cooke, Coryell, Cottle, Crane, Crockett, Crosby, Culberson, Dallam, Dallas, Dawson, Deaf Smith, Delta, Denton, DeWitt, Dickens, Donley, Eastland, Ector, Edwards, El Paso, Ellis, Erath, Falls, Fannin, Fayette, Fisher, Floyd, Foard, Fort Bend, Franklin, Freestone, Gaines, Galveston, Garza, Gillespie, Glasscock, Gonzales, Gray, Grayson, Gregg, Grimes, Guadalupe, Hale, Hall, Hamilton, Hansford, Hardeman, Hardin, Harris, Harrison, Hartley, Haskell, Hays, Hemphill, Henderson, Hill, Hockley, Hood, Hopkins, Houston, Howard, Hudspeth, Hunt, Hutchinson, Irion, Jack, Jackson, Jasper, Jeff Davis, Jefferson, Johnson, Jones, Kaufman, Kendall, Kent, Kerr, Kimble, King, Kinney, Knox, Lamar, Lamb, Lampasas, Lavaca, Lee, Leon, Liberty, Limestone, Lipscomb, Llano, Loving, Lubbock, Lynn, Madison, Marion, Martin, Mason, Matagorda, McCulloch, McLennan, Medina, Menard, Midland, Milam, Mills, Mitchell, Montague, Montgomery, Moore, Morris, Motley, Nacogdoches, Navarro, Newton, Nolan, Ochiltree, Oldham, Orange, Palo Pinto, Panola, Parker, Parmer, Pecos, Polk, Potter, Presidio, Rains, Randall, Reagan, Real, Red River, Reeves, Roberts, Robertson, Rockwall, Runnels, Rusk, Sabine, San Augustine, San Jacinto, San Saba, Schleicher, Scurry, Shackelford, Shelby, Sherman, Smith, Somerveil, Stephens, Sterling, Stonewall, Sutton, Swisher, Tarrant, Taylor, Terrell, Terry, Throckmorton, Titus, Tom Green, Travis, Trinity, Tyler, Upshur, Upton, Uvalde, Val Verde, Van Zandt, Victoria, Walker, Waller, Ward, Washington, Wharton, Wheeler, Wichita, Wilbarger, Williamson, Wilson, Winkler, Wise, Wood, Yoakum, and Young.
Witt indicated that assessments of fire threats in other areas are continuing and additional counties may be designated later as the situation warrants. He named Robert E. Hendrix, of FEMA's regional office in Denton, Texas, to coordinate the federal emergency assistance in the affected areas.