Drought Disaster Declaration Extended, Burn Ban in Effect
Governor of Texas Rick Perry extended the Emergency Disaster Proclamation on Jan. 16 that was initially issued on July 5, 2011 for exceptional drought conditions that posed a threat of imminent disaster in specified counties in Texas.
Tom Green County Emergency Management Coordinator Steve Mild explained that conditions in Tom Green County are starting to reflect those of 2011 when the drought and fires were at an all-time high.
“There’s huge areas in Texas and New Mexico that because of the drought, [the] US Department of Agriculture, at the request of Governor Rick Perry, has declared a disaster area,” explained County Judge Steve Floyd. “It allows the producers in the area to qualify for low interest loans."
In addition, the Small Business Administration is involved because of ancillary businesses that depend on the agricultural industry and the loss of crops affect them too, according to Floyd.
Floyd mentioned that the announcement came down from the Governor’s office to the County office and there’s not much they can do.
“We thought it was a good vehicle to get information out there that it was available,” said Floyd, who also mentioned that the County website will have the cover sheet with additional information, and the local USDA is the place to go for the loans.
Related to the drought conditions, the County did enact the burn ban Tuesday.
“I’ve spoken to the weather service, these conditions are not predicted to improve,” said Mild. “In fact, they are predicted to deteriorate.”
He explained that there are fields out in the county that are waist high and any fire would self-perpetuate. Mild also mentioned that at least three of the ten county volunteer fire departments recommend the burn ban.
The Commissioners voted to enact the burn ban as of 8:00 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 29.
For more information on the drought disaster declaration and what it means for local business, the San Angelo USDA office is located at 3878 West Houston Harte and the number is 325-944-0147.