Texas Forest Service is delivering funds to more than 900 Texas fire departments. Through a legislative grant, TFS is distributing $5.7 million to departments that helped fight wildfires during the 2005-06 wildfire season.
House Bill 15 of the 80th Texas Legislature provided funds to help pay for the cost of fighting wildfires statewide between Dec. 1, 2005, and Sept. 18, 2006. A portion of these funds were designated to help local fire departments recover some of the expenses incurred during that time period.
“We were in total surprise when we received the check,” John Robinson, assistant fire chief for the Retreat Volunteer Fire Department, said. “This money will definitely help us purchase things we need. We are hoping some of it will go towards a down payment on a new tanker.”
Texas Forest Service’s role in this reimbursement process is to verify fire reports and to distribute the payments to the fire departments. Expenses eligible for reimbursement were reported and determined through the Texas Forest Service Fire Reporting System.
House Bill 15 provided for the recovery of fire department expenses that were not already covered by FEMA or TFS emergency grants.
Delbert Robertson, fire chief for the Clarendon Volunteer Fire Department, said his department was very glad to get the reimbursement money.
“We had no idea this money was coming,” Robertson said. “We are going to use it to get a new pumper tanker to use on rural fires.”
To view a listing of fire departments receiving reimbursement payments, visit http://texasforestservice.tamu.edu/main/article.aspx?id=6366.