Governor Abbott Announces SBA Assistance For Panhandle Wildfires


“Low-interest loans will be made available by the SBA to qualifying Texans who need assistance to rebuild their homes and businesses from these wildfires."
Governor Greg Abbott

Texas Insider Report: AUSTIN, Texas Governor Greg Abbott today announced that the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has approved his request for disaster declarations in Texas communities affected by wildfires in the Panhandle. Texas counties included in the declarations are Armstrong, Carson, Donley, Gray, Hansford, Hemphill, Hutchinson, Lipscomb, Moore, Potter, Randall, Roberts, Sherman, and Wheeler.

“These disaster declarations will help Texans in communities affected by the Smokehouse Creek and Windy Deuce wildfires receive critical financial assistance they need as they continue to recover and rebuild,” said Governor Abbott. “Low-interest loans will be made available by the SBA to qualifying Texans who need assistance to rebuild their homes and businesses from these wildfires. I thank the Texas Division of Emergency Management for their work with our federal partners to ensure impacted communities have the resources and assistance they need to move forward.”

The SBA has granted access to its Home Disaster Loans, Business Physical Disaster Loans, and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, which will provide low-interest loans to qualifying homeowners, renters, and businesses in affected communities following the Smokehouse Creek Fire and the Windy Deuce Fire.

Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information, and download applications at sba.gov/disaster. Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov for more information on SBA disaster assistance.

For people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability, please dial 7-1-1 to access telecommunications relay services. Completed applications should be mailed to U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.
SBA representatives will open two Disaster Loan Outreach Centers to explain the application process, assist with completing applications, and address questions about the disaster loan programs.

Starting tomorrow, a Disaster Loan Outreach Center will be located at the Hemphill County Courthouse at 400 Main St. in Canadian, TX 79014, which will be open from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays.

Starting tomorrow, a Disaster Loan Outreach Center will be located at The Dome Civic Center & Convention Center at 1113 Bulldog Blvd. in Borger, TX 79007, which will be open weekdays from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. and from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Saturdays.

Governor Abbott continues to take action to provide all available resources to help support local communities and protect Texans from these devastating wildfires, including:
 
  • Requesting a disaster declaration from the SBA to provide additional support to impacted Texans
  • Granting a waiver for the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts to assist with fueling capabilities amid the wildfire response
  • Requesting joint preliminary damage assessments with local, state, and federal officials in impacted communities.
  • Holding a briefing with lead state response agencies as well as local partners in Canadian to discuss and provide an update on the state’s continued response efforts.
  • Issuing a disaster declaration for 60 Texas counties in response to widespread wildfire activity. Additional counties may be added as conditions warrant.
  • Holding a briefing with state and local officials in Borger and providing an update on the state’s ongoing response to wildfires impacting the state. 
  • Granting waivers for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TxDMV), and Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) to support a swift state response in support of impacted Texans. 
  • Directing TDEM to deploy additional state emergency response resources and raise the readiness level of the State Emergency Operations Center to support the priority needs of communities facing impacts from these wildfires. 
  • Receiving approval from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for a Fire Management Assistance Grant (FMAG) request for the Smokehouse Creek Fire and Windy Deuce Fire, meaning that Texas will be eligible for 75% reimbursement from the federal government for costs associated with fighting those fires.
Additionally, with elevated-to-extremely-critical fire weather conditions expected across the Panhandle, High Plains, South Plains, Big Country, Concho Valley, Permian Basin, and West Texas, state emergency response resources are prepared to respond and support local officials. Texans are urged to implement wildfire prevention measures including avoiding any activity that causes sparks, preparing a family emergency plan, and monitoring local weather reports.
Texans can access wildfire prevention resources at TexasReady.gov.
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