AUSTIN, Texas -- Three little letters can make a big difference for 67 newly designated Texas counties recovering from wildfires that raged through their area from April 6 to Aug. 29, 2011. The state and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) call it an RPA or a Request for Public Assistance.
Filing an RPA with the state is the first step in the process of applying for federal reimbursements under FEMA’s Public Assistance (PA) program. Without it, applicants, including state agencies, local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations, cannot be considered for reimbursements for their wildfire-related expenses.
“Don’t wait to file,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Kevin L. Hannes. “The sooner applicants submit their requests for assistance, the quicker we can get the ball rolling in getting much-needed reimbursements to eligible communities.”
A Dec. 13, 2011, amendment to the original July 1, 2011, disaster declaration added the 67 counties to those already designated for the wildfires, bringing the total number of eligible counties to 119.
Applicants must file RPAs within 30 days of the designation of their counties, so applicants in these counties have until Jan. 12, 2012, to submit their RPA. PA funding will be considered in all counties for measures taken by a community before, during and after the wildfires to save lives and protect property. Some counties are eligible for additional categories of work.
The newly designated counties are Anderson, Bastrop, Blanco, Briscoe, Brooks, Brown, Burnett, Cass, Childress, Coke, Coryell, Crane, Crosby, Culberson, Deaf Smith, 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.
Application procedures for state and local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations will be explained during a series of state-run Applicant Briefings, with locations to be announced soon by recovery officials.
FEMA PA funds are available to Texas communities through a partnership of cost sharing. FEMA obligates funds to the state for 75 percent of eligible costs, while the applicant covers the remaining 25 percent.
Federal funds are obligated to the state which in turn forwards the funds to the local governments or organizations that incurred the costs.
More information about FEMA's PA program can be found at www.fema.gov/public-assistance-local-state-tribal-and-non-profit. For more on the disaster declaration, visit the TDEM website at www.txdps.state.tx.us/dem/documents/recovery/dr1999_pa.htm.
FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.