FEMA Wildfires Declaration Include 119 Texas Counties

December 16, 2011
NASA Earth Observatory image created by Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has expanded its wildfires disaster declaration area for Texas to include 119 counties.

Gov. Rick Perry on Wednesday announced FEMA has granted the state’s request to increase the original 45 counties eligible to seek disaster help.

A FEMA disaster declaration, on July 1, covered Texas wildfires between April 2 and May 3. Perry’s office says the updated disaster declaration extends the wildfires incident period through Aug. 29.

Texas, since Perry’s initial statewide disaster proclamation last Dec. 21, has responded to more than 26,000 fires that have burned more than 3.9 million acres. The governor’s office says state and local response costs are estimated at more than $330 million.

A fire in Bastrop County in early September was the costliest wildfire in Texas history, racking up more than $325 million in insured losses and destroying nearly 1,700 homes, the Insurance Council of Texas reports.

2011 is the costliest year for wildfires in Texas history with insured losses at $500 million. Previously, 2009 had been the costliest year with $115 million in insured losses.

According to the Texas Forest Service, 3,917,731 acres have burned so far in this calendar year and 3,981,754 acres have burned since fire season began on Nov. 15, 2010.

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