Expanded Disaster Declaration Helps Texoma Counties

More help is becoming available to counties impacted by the 2011 wildfire season. FEMA has extended the federal disaster declaration providing a longer timetable, and included 67 more Texas counties. Several of those are in Texoma, and officials say they are glad to have a chance to recoup some of the funds spent fighting fires this season.

Among the counties now included is Hardeman. The county has two fire departments, Quanah and Chillicothe. Between the two, the county has spent around $25,000 for fires this year. The biggest costs are from fuel and maintaining the fire apparatus.

Hardeman County Judge Ronald Ingram says its been a busy year. "Its been hard on equipment, its been hard on people," he said. It has also been hard on the budget. Hardeman County came in around budget this year, Ingram said. The chance to get back some of the money spent on fires is welcome. "We've been able to be included in the disaster declaration and now we will be applying for some funds from FEMA to try and replace some of the funds for fuel and money for equipment repair," he said.

Right now Hardeman County officials are preparing the necessary paperwork to submit for the money. They hope to benefit from the program. "Hopefully we will get paperwork done within the next month or so and see where this goes with FEMA," said Ingram.

Paul Harrop, Newschannel 6