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By the numbers: Texas wildfires, six months later

AUSTIN - Nearly six months into the response and recovery effort following the late-summer Texas wildfires, more than $42 million in state and federal assistance is getting to wildfire survivors and their communities. The following is a quick look at other numbers of importance, as of Feb. 29:

  • 1    County was named in the original Sept. 9, 2011, disaster declaration: Bastrop County.
  • 5    Long-term recovery groups have been formed to help survivors address unmet needs.
  • 6    People lost their lives in four Texas counties during the wildfires, according to the state of Texas.
  • 10    Biologists are monitoring for the endangered Houston toad alongside crews cleaning up debris and removing hazardous trees in Bastrop County.
  • 13    Amendments were made to the Sept. 9 major disaster declaration as the state requested more assistance.
  • 23    Counties are designated for assistance under FEMA's Individual Assistance program: Anderson, Bastrop, Caldwell, Cass, Colorado, Fayette, Gregg, Grimes, Harrison, Henderson, Hill, Houston, Leon, Marion, Montgomery, Navarro, Rusk, Smith, Travis, Upshur, Walker, Waller and Williamson.
  • 29    Shelters were set up by voluntary agencies and faith-based organizations to help survivors forced from their homes by wildfires that began Aug. 30.
  • 30    AmeriCorps members brought their skills and energy to help organize volunteers working on Bastrop County wildfire recovery efforts.
  • 61    Counties are designated for assistance under FEMA's Public Assistance program: Anderson, Bastrop, Bosque, Bowie, Briscoe, Caldwell, Camp, Cass, Cherokee, Clay, Colorado, Coryell, Crockett, Edwards, Fayette, Foard, Franklin, Grayson, Gregg, Grimes, Hall, Hardin, Harrison, Henderson, Hill, Houston, Howard, Hunt, Jefferson, Kendall, Kimble, La Salle, Lee, Leon, Limestone, Marion, Matagorda, McCulloch, Menard, Montague, Morris, Navarro, Newton, Nolan, Orange, Panola, Pecos, Polk, Red River, Reeves, Roberts, Rusk, San Augustine, Shelby, Smith, Sutton, Titus, Tyler, Upshur, Walker and Wise.
  • 90    Temporary Housing Units were placed in Bastrop and five other counties for use by wildfire survivors and their families who had no other short-term housing options.
  • 124    Survivors received $98,000 in Disaster Unemployment Assistance through the state of Texas after they missed work or lost jobs because of the wildfires.
  • 270    Local officials and other potential applicants participated in seven innovative state-sponsored webinars providing guidelines and tips for winning grants under FEMA's Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.
  • 350    FEMA and State employees worked side by side throughout the disaster areas to help Texans and their communities recover from the blazes.
  • 406    Texas individuals and families were provided free hotel stays through FEMA's Temporary Sheltering Assistance program.
  • 1,005    Texas homeowners and renters have received federal or state grants to begin recovering from the wildfires.
  • 1,709    Homes were lost to wildfires in 23 Texas counties starting Aug. 30, 2011.
  • 1,896    Property assessments were performed by FEMA housing inspectors as an essential step in getting assistance grants to eligible wildfire survivors.
  • 2,370    Wildfire survivors received follow-up phone calls by FEMA outreach liaisons for additional help with their cases and referrals to long-term recovery groups for assistance with unmet needs.
  • 4,500    FEMA publications were provided to Texans by FEMA mitigation specialists at home improvement stores and disaster recovery centers. The materials provided tips on building stronger homes and creating defensible space around property.
  • 5,225    Visits were made by survivors to recovery centers throughout the counties designated for Individual Assistance. The centers were staffed by state and federal recovery specialists.
  • 22,945    Hazardous trees have been removed in Bastrop County under FEMA's Private Property Debris Removal program. Nearly 600 households signed up to have badly burned and hazardous trees removed from their property under the program.
  • 211,000    Acres burned during the late-summer wildfires in just the 23 counties designated for Individual Assistance. Many more thousands of acres burned in counties designated for Public Assistance.
  • 270,000    Cubic yards of construction rubble and vegetative debris have been removed so far from public rights of way during the cleanup in Bastrop County alone.
  • $1.04 million    In FEMA grants has been awarded to the state to provide crisis counseling services to wildfire survivors.
  • $2.7 million    In grants has been provided to wildfire survivors for serious disaster-related expenses under the Other Needs Assistance program.
  • $7.1 million    In FEMA Public Assistance grants has been obligated to the state so far to help reimburse applicants for debris removal, emergency protective measures, and repairs of roads and bridges, public buildings and utilities, recreational areas and other public infrastructure.
  • $11.15 million    In grants has been provided to wildfires survivors for temporary housing and home repair/reconstruction under the Individual Assistance Program.
  • $13.8 million    Has been set aside for Texas under the FEMA-funded, state-run Hazard Mitigation Grant Program. Projects that reduce the wildfire threat are a priority. All 254 Texas Counties have been designated as eligible for assistance under FEMA's Hazard Mitigation Grant program.
  • $21 million    In low-interest disaster loans has been approved for 193 Texas homeowners and businesses owners by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Texans can follow FEMA tweets about the wildfire disaster at www.twitter.com/femaregion6. Other online resources are http://blog.fema.gov, www.facebook.com/fema and www.youtube.com/fema.

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  • The Texas Forest Service reported that more than 50 separate fires had burned through some 30,000 tinder-dry acres, causing widespread damage to neighborhoods across eastern and central parts of the state. At least two people were killed.