Little Rock, AR -- Cleaning up debris from the December ice storms is a cooperative effort between landowners and government agencies. Individuals are responsible for cleaning up fallen limbs and damaged trees on their property. When landowners place debris by the side of city and county roadways, local and county governments remove it.
To date, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved more than $17.5 million in federal funds for local and county governments to assist with the costs of debris removal and emergency protective measures. Homeowners benefit from this fund by not having to pay for hauling debris. Moving debris from private land to the public right of way is all that is required.
"We are limited in the type of debris removal assistance that we can provide to the private landowner," said Joe D. Bray, federal coordinating officer with FEMA. "Only in extreme circumstances of direct threats to life or public safety can a federal agency go onto private property to remove debris."
Individuals needing help with debris removal have several sources available to assist them. For example, a homeowner's insurance agent may have listings for reputable, licensed tree removal companies. Individuals with physical or other limitations may get cleanup help from one of the many volunteer groups helping homeowners with special needs.
"The cleanup process from the December ice storms is progressing steadily," said David Maxwell, state coordinating officer with the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM). "Working together, private homeowners and governmental cleanup crews are making a large dent in the accumulated debris. A continued effort on all sides will bring us back our clean and beautiful state, as reflected in our neighborhoods and natural forests."