Clay County to receive portion of Fed funds for 2011 wildfires

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The late afternoon sun filters through the smoke hanging over the Pleasant Valley Cemetery in southeast Clay County Sept. 13.

The late afternoon sun filters through the smoke hanging over the Pleasant Valley Cemetery in southeast Clay County Sept. 13, 2011.

Seventeen months after devastating wildfires rolled through eastern Clay and western Montague, the two counties will share in a federal grant to assist in cleanup and recovery.

The U.S. Department of Labor announced Monday a $406,101 National Emergency Grant increment to continue funding temporary jobs for cleanup and recovery efforts following damage caused by wildfires across the state of Texas in 2011.

On Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2011, two large fires broke out in southeastern Clay County. The first sparked near Manton Road south of Bellevue, and burned the Hwy. 81 in Montague County before firefighters could get the blaze under ontrol. The Manton Road fire forced evacuations in the areas of Bellevue, Stoneburg and Old Bowie Lake. The second fire broke out on Dark Hollow Road, south of Vashti and Buffalo Springs.

Together, the fires burned an estimated 5,000 acres.

The increment brings the total funds awarded to date to $1.2 million. Additional funding up to the amount approved will be made available as the state demonstrates a continued need for assistance.

Monday’s announcement affects the counties of Anderson, Bastrop, Bosque, Briscoe, Cass, Cherokee, Clay, Colorado, Coryell, Edwards, Gregg, Hall, Harrison, Henderson, Hill, Houston, Howard, Kimble, Leon, Marion, Menard, Montague, Morris, Navarro, Nolan, Panola, Rusk, Smith, Sutton, Upshur, Walker and Wise.

“The 2011 wildfires impacted communities across Texas,” said Jane Oates, assistant secretary of labor for employment and training. “Funding from the Labor Department will provide the state with critical assistance for tackling tremendous, ongoing cleanup and recovery efforts while also continuing temporary jobs for eligible workers in need of employment.”

On Oct. 14, 2011, the Labor Department awarded a National Emergency Grant of up to $1.4 million to the Texas Workforce Commission, with $474,664 released initially. The department later awarded a subsequent increment of $349,845.

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Pioneer Sentinel

The Pioneer Sentinel is an online newspaper designed to deliver the news of Clay County, Texas, in a concise and community-friendly format.

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