Following major wildfires in the Texas Panhandle, Governor Greg Abbott today declared a State of Disaster in the following counties: Gray, Hemphill, Lipscomb, Ochiltree, Roberts and Wheeler. In addition to the disaster declaration, the State of Texas has asked the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for a Secretarial Disaster Designation to activate the USDA Farm Service Agency’s Emergency Loan Program to help eligible farmers and ranchers rebuild and recover from losses sustained by the wildfires.
“This week’s wildfires have had a devastating impact on a significant portion of the Texas Panhandle,” said Governor Abbott. “Texans have always been resilient in their response to disasters and this time will be no different. Cecilia and I thank the first responders who are working tirelessly to help all those affected, and we continue to ask that all Texans keep the Panhandle community and the families of the victims of this disaster in their thoughts and prayers.”
Earlier this week, Governor Abbott granted a waiver to hay carriers in the Texas Panhandle and asked the USDA to accelerate the temporary suspension of grazing restrictions in the affected areas, in addition to urging the Farm Service Agency to expedite the implementation of the Emergency Conservation Program that provides critical financial resources to impacted farmers and ranchers.
TO ALL TO WHOM THESE PRESENTS SHALL COME:
I, GREG ABBOTT, Governor of Texas, do hereby certify that wildfires that began on March 6, 2017, have caused a disaster in Gray, Hemphill, Lipscomb, Ochiltree, Roberts and Wheeler counties in the state of Texas.
THEREFORE, in accordance with the authority vested in me by Section 418.014 of the Texas Government Code, I do hereby declare a state of disaster in Gray, Hemphill, Lipscomb, Ochiltree, Roberts and Wheeler counties in the state of Texas.
Pursuant to Section 4 18.017 of the code, I authorize the use of all available resources of state government and of political subdivisions that are reasonably necessary to cope with this disaster.
Pursuant to Section 418.016 of the code, any regulatory statute prescribing the procedures for conduct of state business or any order or rule of a state agency that would in any way prevent, hinder or delay necessary action in coping with this disaster shall be suspended upon written approval of the Office of the Governor. However, to the extent that the enforcement of any state statute or administrative rule regarding contracting or procurement would impede any state agency’s emergency response that is necessary to protect life or property threatened by this declared disaster, I hereby authorize the suspension of such statutes and rules for the duration of this declared disaster.
In accordance with the statutory requirements, copies of this proclamation shall be filed with the applicable authorities.
IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I have hereunto signed my name and have officially caused the Seal of State to be affixed at my office in the City of Austin, Texas, this the 11th day of March, 2017.