Obama Signs Federal Disaster Declaration for Texas

Early estimate on Bastrop wildfire $1.2 million and expected to climb

Texas Wildfires

White House officials say President Barack Obama has signed a federal disaster declaration for Texas.

The move allows federal funding to be made available to individuals in Bastrop County in the central part of the state. The federal aid will supplement state and local recovery efforts.

Individuals are encouraged to register with FEMA by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or:

  • Those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS) can call 800-621-3362.
  • Apply for disaster assistance online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov.
  • Smartphone or tablet, use m.fema.gov
  • FEMA’s App for android phones download at market.android.com/details?id=gov.fema.mobile.android

The most destructive wildfire on record in Texas has racked up a bill of at least $1.2 million so far.

The Texas Forest Service cautioned Friday that the figure was an early estimate and certainly expected to climb. The wildfire in Bastrop County has burned about 35,000 acres and destroyed nearly 1,400 homes.

The early price tag includes firefighting costs but not damage caused by the catastrophic blaze.

Gov. Rick Perry says residents whose homes were destroyed by a massive Central Texas wildfire will be eligible for state funding that will pay for seven-day hotel vouchers for temporary shelter.

The funding is being provided by the Texas Disaster Relief Fund and the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs.

Volunteers will be at shelters in Bastrop County on Saturday to take applications for the hotel vouchers. Residents may also dial 2-1-1 for statewide services and disaster information.

The wildfire began Sunday just outside Austin. Fire officials said Saturday afternoon it was about 50 percent contained.

Residents of one neighborhood evacuated because of a massive Texas wildfire are being allowed back in to assess the damage.

No single wildfire dating to the 1990s has destroyed as many homes. Yet the price so far is still well below other fires this year, including one last month around Possum Kingdom Lake in North Texas. State officials estimate that blaze cost at least $3.1 million.

All Four Fire Victims Identified

Officials have released the name of the fourth person killed in a series of wildfires this week.

Fifty-eight-year-old Vickie Faye Keenan was identified by officials on Saturday as having died earlier this week in a massive Central Texas wildfire in Bastrop County.

Bastrop County Sheriff Terry Pickering says she was found at a home in the Circle D area in the county. He didn't know if Keenan lived at the address but she had been staying with a friend there.

The other victim of the Bastrop County wildfire was previously identified as 48-year-old Michael Troy Farr.

Valerie McBride and her 18-month-old daughter K'loe Jane were killed Sunday when a fire swept through the mobile home park they lived in near Gladewater, 115 miles east of Dallas.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
Contact Us