Texas has received 25 FEMA grants for fires this year

While Texas Governor Rick Perry has been whining that his state has not received enough money from the federal government for firefighting assistance, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has been quietly shipping mega-bucks to his state. Here is a list of 25 FEMA Fire Management Assistance declarations and grants for the state of Texas since January 1, 2011:

Texas FEMA fire grants 2011
From the Federal Emergency Management Agency

These FEMA grants for the state of Texas, whose Governor has flirted with the idea of seceding from the United States, cover 75 percent of the state’s costs for firefighting. The amount of federal money given to Texas for fires this year is not yet known, since the costs are still being incurred and the state has not submitted all of their claims for financial assistance to the federal government.

These grants are for specific incidents and are different from FEMA’s Major Disaster Declarations, one of which has not been approved for the Texas fires this year. Those are not awarded as often as the Fire Management Assistance grants, but Texas has received 16 of them since 2000. In fact, Texas has benefited more than any other state from federal Major Disaster Declarations.

Here is a list of the ten states that have had the most FEMA Major Disaster Declarations since 1953:

FEMA top ten states major disaster declarations
From the Federal Emergency Management Agency

We feel for the families of the two firefighters that died while fighting fires in Texas recently, and we have sympathy for the individuals that have lost property in the fires. But if and when Texas secedes from the United States as threatened and either forms their own country or becomes a Mexican state, they will have to find a new source for bailing them out of their costs for fires, floods, and hurricanes.

And perhaps, while asking other U.S. taxpayers for money, Texas should reconsider the bill that passed both houses of their legislature that cuts the funding of the Texas Forest Service’s Wildfire and Emergency Program by more than 30%. Or, maybe they should use the $2 billion rainy day fund they are sitting on.


Thanks Dick

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

14 thoughts on “Texas has received 25 FEMA grants for fires this year”

  1. Don’t try to change my mind by presenting me with FACTS: the bottom line is that Obama hates Texas, and should have shipped even more Federal taxpayer $$ to TX so that they could preserve their “rainy day fund” for a real emergency, like arming their militia when they secede!

  2. Texas’s firefighting forces are largely Volunteer fire departments, with some paid city/county/Emerg Svcs Districts firefighters. The Texas Forest Service has only a handful of fire folks beyond the 54 East Texas counties (which was their original responssibility). The other 200 counties want the Texas Forest Service to manage their large fires, though there is no budget to pay the large fire suppression bills. And Texans do not want any new taxes, they just want that fire protection for free, and believe California is crazy the way they tax folks. Maybe CA would not be broke if they had FEMA pay most of CALFIRE’s suppression budget.

    Texas owed the Federal Fire Fund (Albuquerque Service Center) 75 million dollars at the beginning of 2011. They have been charging the current fires to the Federal Fire Fund, on a reimbursable fire number (the idea is that the state will pay the feds for the costs incurred on that account). So they do not even have to come up with the up-front money to get reimbursed, they just charge it to the Federal Fire Fund, and if the FEMA FMAGrant gets approved, they only owe 25%, which can be paid, interest free, at their leisure. Like an interest free loan, the Federal Fire Fund. Many of the Texas Forest Service’s salaries are also charged to FMAGrants, and many of their personnel are on Resource Orders working those incidents (many as Technical Specialists). The Texas Forest Service’s personnel budget may actually MAKE money during these incidents due to salary savings.

    The Texas Forest Service learned this racket a long time ago, and continues to juggle the FMAG accounts to pay for fire suppression costs.

    Faced with the article’s above-mentioned 30% cut in budget, this terrible fire season (while their legislature is in session) was a great way to show the legislators why they have been requesting budget increases. Maybe the Obama administration knows this, and they want Texas to come up with a State Wildfire Funding Plan, rather than the current Plan to depend on FEMA for firefighting budgets.

  3. Emmett, he didn’t try to change your mind, he has no idea who you are. He simply presented the facts which I think are pretty relevant. It’s about the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT providing funds, and as he shows, they have provided a good chunk of money.

  4. John – my lame attempt at humor and sarcasm obviously missed it’s mark. So much for my chances of replacing Stephen Colbert next year.

  5. A few jabbs about Texas seceding from the union!? hell I hope we do, and Im sure most of Louisiana and Oklahoma would come too. And We would do much better that the US Govt. We have a large chunk of the military forces, most of the petro chemicals and resources, and most importantly people down here work for a living!!! Becoming a Mexican state?!?! what a stupid comment!! those are fighting words down here! lol

  6. “…cash strapped state…” Poor Texas christian Republican legislators. Sitting on 9 billion dollars they refuse to to use and help our own people with and now those dastardly fiends at FEMA refuse to give Federal Funds garnered from the taxpayers of the entire nation to help us. Bless their hearts…they are so persecuted.

  7. You are ridiculous. I’m a native Texan, and I shutter when I hear yahoos like you making stupid statements about seceding. Just stop it. You ignorance is embarressing to me as a Texan, and I don’t want everyone thinking we are all as stupid as you sound.

    Think about it, if Texas seceded, the US military would kick our asses because we have the best military in the world.

    Besides, where is your PATROTISM?? The Unites States of America is awesome. What, do you hate America?! If you had said that during the Bush years, you would have been villianized and chastised for your lack of patrotism!

    Perry needs to STFU about seceding. You talk tough John, but you need to do the same.

  8. do you know the difference between an emergency declaration and a major disaster declaration? That is what we’re talking about here. Emergency declarations will send money (75%) to help fight the fire, but in no way help toward reb…uilding afterwards. The Obama administration has refused to grant Texas a major disaster declaration. You and I both know that Obama hates Texas, this is just his little childish way of sticking it to us.

    Were he smart, he would have swept in like a white knight and fixed it all then come to brag to Texans how he is so Godlike, etc (which he’ll do anyway but would have something to back it up)….. but he is not that smart, he’d rather play childish games.See More

  9. Date : 9/7/2011..Is it true or do you know if President Obama rejected disaster declaration for the fires as of now??? In austin .All over TX? tyvm

  10. Lafonda: we reported yesterday on this. Seven additional Fire Management Assistance Grants have been approved to help fight the Texas wildfires, bringing the total FMAGs for Texas to 52 so far in 2011. These grants make it possible for the federal government to pay up to 75 percent of the state and local government’s eligible firefighting costs. By the way, since 1953, Texas has benefited more than any other state in receiving federal Major Disaster Declarations. Meanwhile, Texas has cut the budget for the Texas Forest Service beginning in the state’s fiscal year that started September 1, 2011.

  11. Texas has more land to burn, which would naturally mean more fires, thus more help.

    Now if Delaware or Rhode Island was in #1 place, I could see a problem. If you use common sense, the bigger the state, the bigger area of land.


  12. Big State, lots of land that can burn, serious long-term drought, and so the budgeted funds for the TX Forest Service gets cut back, and then the Guv wants Fed FEMA to pay 75% of the costs. DUH!! Just like Guv Rick P., I’m FED UP too at bailing out those who bite the hand that brings them help.

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