Wildfire Victims Urged To Register For Assistance

The Texas wildfire danger is not over due to the extreme drought. But the road to recovery is now underway to victims of a wildfire that spread through three counties in the Houston area. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is offering assistance.

Riley Road Fire Map
Fire Information as of September 14th, 2011

Started: September 5, 2011

Size: 18,960 acres- Approximate acreage by county: 10,604 acres in Waller County, 6,445 acres in Montgomery County, and 1,909 acres in Grimes County.

Information provided by InciWeb.

The tri-county wildfire destroyed 75-homes and burned more than 19,000 acres in Grimes, Montgomery and Waller Counties.

Federal assistance came after President Obama issued a disaster declaration.

"The wildfires really spread through Texas, and we were still cleaning up prior to those two disasters from some late Winter stuff, so we've got our people spread pretty thin."

Bill Lehman is FEMA's public information officer. He says the declaration makes federal assistance available to individuals and business owners, even if they lost their records in the fire.

"We can help recreate their documents, we've had a lot of experience at this. What we need to do is just have them register first, and then we'll work with them. A lot of the homes that were affected by fire were totally destroyed. We encourage people to register, even if they don't have the documentation that we may require, we can get it from other sources."

He says assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, and for other serious disaster-related needs.

"The maximum that people can get from FEMA under the grant money is $30,200. That's above and beyond their insurance. So with that and also with the SBA loan money, we're able to get people back, almost whole in most situations."

Registering with FEMA is required for federal aid, even if the person has done so with another disaster-relief organization like the American Red Cross. The time to register for federal assistance is 60-days from the presidential declaration, or until the first week of November.

More information can be found at www.disasterassistance.gov, or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) from 6am to 9 pm, seven days a week.

Also, state assistance is available through the Texas Disaster Relief Fund

Bio photo of Pat Hernandez

Pat Hernandez

Reporter

Pat Hernandez is a general assignments reporter who joined the KUHF news staff in February of 2008...