Press Release from the Office of State Senator Craig Estes, District 30

For Immediate Release
April 21, 2011
Contact: Sam Carlson

Estes Responds to Wildfire Emergency

Austin —State Senator Craig Estes (R - Wichita Falls) spoke out on the wildfires ravaging parts of North Texas, a large percentage of which are located in his Senate District 30.

"Our state is grateful that we have courageous men and women across Texas who are fighting these fires and offering assistance and support to wildfire victims. The safety of those affected by these fires is of utmost priority," said Estes. "We are also working with local districts and the Governor's Division of Emergency Management to make sure eligible counties will be able to recoup their costs with FEMA funds".

Currently there are approximately 1,815 first responders being managed by the Texas Forest Service from 36 states assigned to Texas fires. This figure does not include Volunteer Fire Department responders.

At this time, fires range from 10% containment to 95% containment. There are presently 203 counties with burn bans.

"Representative Hardcastle and I have asked the Texas Forest Service to set up a fund to collect private donations for volunteer fire departments. We will be sending more information out when that is complete" said Estes. "I encourage citizens to donate to the Texas Agriculture Relief Fund (STAR Fund). You can make donations on the Department of Agriculture's website. The fund assists farmers and ranchers in responding to and recovering from an emergency and may be used to rebuild fences, restore operations, and to pay for other agricultural disaster relief".

Additional resources for responding to the extreme fire danger include:

Assistance and Relief

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
800 North Loop 288, Denton, TX 76209 (800) 621-FEMA
Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) - assistance for lost work time due to disaster; Temporary Housing Assistance (housing assistance for unlivable residences due to disaster); Individual and Family Grants (serious need grants for inability to pay necessary living expenses); Mortgage and Rental Assistance - delinquent payment assistance due to disaster

Small Business Administration (SBA)
4400 Amon Carter Blvd, Suite 102, Fort Worth, TX 76155 (800)-366-6303
Disaster Loan Program - financial assistance to rebuild homes and businesses due to disaster

TDA's Interest Rate Reduction Program
Disaster relief low interest loans to refinance existing agricultural debt

Texas Agriculture Relief Fund (STAR Fund)
The fund assists farmers and ranchers in responding to and recovering from an emergency and may be used to rebuild fences, restore operations, and to pay for other agricultural disaster relief

Texas Department of Public Safety Public Assistance Grant Program
Provides assistance to State, Tribal and local governments, and certain types of Private Nonprofit organizations so that communities can quickly respond to and recover from major disasters or emergencies declared by the President

USDA - Farm Service Agency (FSA)
P.O. Box 2900, College Station, TX (979) 680-5150
Fence restoration, debris removal, land grading, structure restoration, water conservation measures, Emergency Loan Assistance (low interest loans for production and physical loss), Disaster Debt Set-Aside Program - FSA loan payments deferred due to disaster

USDA - Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
101 S. Main Street, Temple, TX (254) 742-9800
Emergency Watershed Program (EWP) - emergency measures for runoff retardation, soil erosion and debris, which has impaired a watershed

Volunteer Fire Department Emergency Assistance Fund
Donations may be mailed to the following address:
Texas Forest Service, John B. Connally Building 301 Tarrow, Suite 421,
College Station, TX 77840-7896
The purpose of this fund will be to receive donations to assist volunteer fire department (VFDs) with their elevated costs in battling the current wildfires. All donations are tax deductible and the donors will receive an acknowledgement letter for tax purposes. 100% of the funds received will be distributed to VFDs in the form of grants for firefighting expenses

Wichita Falls Area Community Foundation
807 8th Street, Suite 750
Wichita Falls TX 76301
Providing assistance for Volunteer Fire Departments and accepting applications for grant funds

Senator Estes represents Senate District 30 covering Archer, Baylor, Clay, Collin (part), Cooke, Denton (part), Grayson, Jack, Montague, Parker, Palo Pinto, Shackelford, Stephens, Throckmorton, Wichita, Wilbarger, Wise, and Young counties.