Athens Review, Athens, Texas

March 12, 2013

Henderson County eligible for wildfire-related grant money

From Staff Reports
The Athens Review

Athens — The U.S. Department of Labor announced another round of federal grant money to portions of East Texas scorched by wildfires during the hot summer of 2011.

Henderson County is on the list of eligible counties included in the grant, but sustained minor damage compared to the devastation in Bastrop or Anderson counties.  The $406,000 federal grant will help Texas fund temporary jobs, as cleanup and recovery efforts continue from devastating 2011 wildfires.

The latest National Emergency Grant pushes the Texas total to more than $1.2 million. The Federal Emergency Management Agency previously declared 32 Texas counties eligible for public assistance, including Anderson, Bastrop, Bosque, Briscoe, Cass, Cherokee, Clay, Colorado, Coryell, Edwards, Gregg, Hall, Harrison, Henderson, Hill, Houston, Howard, Kimble, Leon, Marion, Menard, Montague, Morris, Navarro, Nolan, Panola, Rusk, Smith, Sutton, Upshur, Walker and Wise counties.

After a summer of record heat, fires began to intensify in August, 2011. During that period, firefighters from Henderson and other counties helped battle a grass fire encompassing about 400 acres in the Todd City area in northeastern Anderson County.

Henderson County has had dozens of grass and brush fires during the span between early-August and mid-September. Most of the devastation was in the Bastrop area near Austin, where hundreds of homes, and more than 30,000 acres burned.

The funds are being awarded to the Texas Workforce Commission. The grant was awarded as a result of TWC working in partnership with the local workforce development boards and local elected officials to identify the needs of wildfire victims in these communities.

TWC has been working in partnership with the local workforce boards, local elected officials and community partners in the effected counties to help provide food, clothing, shelter and related humanitarian services.

Community efforts included performing demolition work, cleaning, repair, renovation or reconstruction of damaged and destroyed public structures, facilities and lands located within the designated disaster areas.