VFD's Treasuries Depleted by Wildfires
THE LARGE AND PROLONGED WILDFIRES that swept across Texas over the past six weeks have caused a genuine hardship to the hundreds of volunteer fire departments, most of them in remote, rural areas. As the ceaseless and massive grass fires set records for damage and destruction, many of the VFD's ran out of money because of the demands for fuel and repairs, plus equipment replacement. While many of them were even working fires outside their own counties, it was not unusual to find the firefighters using their own personal credit cards to fill the fuel tanks in their firetrucks.
An emergency fund that relies on donations has been set up to help pay for the needed supplies that these departments need badly and yesterday (Tuesday May 24) a press conference was held to introduce the Texas Wildfire Relief Fund. The San Angelo Standard Times reported:
At a news conference Tuesday morning at the Capitol, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples — flanked by several West Texas state lawmakers whose districts have been affected by the fires — emphasized the financial drain of what he said has been "one of the worst wildfire seasons on record" and implored Texans to donate to the Texas Wildfire Relief Fund set up by the State Firemen's and Fire Marshals' Association of Texas.
Staples applauded the Independent Insurance Agents of Texas for its $100,000 donation to the fund — the first significant contribution — but said it pales in comparison to the existing financial need.
Texas State Firemen's and Fire Marshals' Assoc.
"Although it is a significant contribution, it is pennies compared to the need out there, the need that is so great to help these volunteer firefighters to carry out their mission," Staples said. "But all Texans have the opportunity to give to this relief fund."
The state has set up its own account to receive donations to help fund firefighting costs, which have grown to almost $102 million statewide, according to the most recent estimates from the Texas Forest Service.
Read the entire article HERE.
To put it simply, the VFD's are out of money, but the fires are continuing to plague the state. In addition, the funds will be used to purchase the lightweight wildfire PPE that many of the firefighters desperately need. Structural running gear is too heavy for grass fire use and most of them are only clad in cotton T-shirts and pants while they are in the brush.
KXAN-TV Ch. 36 Austin covered the fund's introduction in this video report:
You do not need to live in Texas in order to donate. You or your own department can donate to this very worthy fund directly online by CLICKING HERE and fill in the blanks.
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