Meadows Foundation Gives $850,000 for Bastrop Wildfire Recovery, Texas

Send by email Printer-friendly version Share this

The Dallas-based Meadows Foundation is making $850,000 available to help with the recovery effort in the aftermath of the devastating Bastrop County wildfire that burned much of Bastrop State Park.

“This gift, which will be divided among six governmental and non-profit agencies, is a wonderful example of private philanthropy taking the lead in helping Texas recover from this catastrophe,” said TPWD Executive Director Carter Smith. “Considering the fiscal constraints facing state government, and the large and unexpected expenses associated with the wildfire, this grant from the Meadows Foundation is particularly welcome and tremendously appreciated.”

The gift will be shared among the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the Texas Forest Service, the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, the SPCA of Texas and the Austin Humane Society.

The wind-whipped wildfire broke out the afternoon of Sept. 4. Before finally being contained, it covered some 34,000 acres, claimed two lives and destroyed more than 1,600 residences. In addition, the fire blackened 95 percent of Bastrop State Park, destroying the roofs of two scenic overlooks built in the mid-1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps. It also consumed equipment and structures at the nearby regional state park headquarters, but all the other historic structures on the park were saved by parks staff and firefighters.

“We are deeply grateful to the park rangers, fire fighters, and forestry workers who risked their own safety to ensure the safety of others, to the citizens of Bastrop County who helped their neighbors get out of the fires’ path, the Red Cross, Salvation Army, and the countless workers and volunteers who helped provide shelter and food to those who lost so much,” said Meadows Foundation President and CEO Linda Perryman Evans. “They are the real heroes, and it is a privilege to support them in their efforts.”

The Meadows Foundation reacted quickly to the fire.

“Firefighters were still putting out hotspots on the park when I received a telephone call from the foundation saying they were interested in helping us, the Texas Forest Service and other first responders,” Smith said.

TPWD’s share of the money will be used to replace some department-owned fire-fighting equipment lost in the fire, to replace two pickup trucks and one all-terrain vehicle destroyed in the fire and for hazard mitigation and erosion-control efforts at the state park.

A large part of the money will go to Texas Forest Service as pass through funding to volunteer fire departments not only in Bastrop area, but across the state.

“In Texas, local fire departments are the first line of defense against wildfires. Many operate on little to no money with aging, battle-worn equipment. And they are made up primarily of volunteers; men and women who have other jobs,” said Tom Boggus, Director Texas Forest Service. “Every penny of the Meadows Foundation’s generous gift to Texas Forest Service will see its way to our citizen responders.”

As plans are being made for the disbursement of the money from the The Meadows Foundation grant, work continues to get Bastrop State Park up and running again. The majority of the campgrounds and picnic areas on the park are expected to be re-opened to the public by Dec. 1 if all the tree and brush removal progresses as planned. The cabins and refectory, which were already scheduled to be re-roofed this fall, will remain closed through February 2012.

“Efforts related to the park’s recovery include removing hazardous trees, contracting for the harvest of salvageable timber and debris removal, erosion control and hiking trail cleanup,” said Todd McClanahan, superintendent of Bastrop State Park. “We hope to have contractors on board within the next few weeks, which will speed up recovery efforts.”

Emergency Wildfire Relief Grants
OrganizationAmount
Texas Forest Service for Volunteer Fire Departments$500,000
American Red Cross Dallas Chapter200,000
Texas Parks & Wildlife Department100,000
Salvation Army30,000
SPCA of Texas10,000
Austin Humane Society10,000
Meadows Foundation (awarded)$850,000

Comments

Retired2hunt's picture

  A great deal of money

 

A great deal of money provided to the disasters of Texas.  My only hope is for that all monies are actually going to real efforts to make change.  I have done a great deal of investigation organizations that are supposedely focused on the charity of these situations only to find large amounts of the money go to salaries and other management fees and not towards the efforts of the needy involved.

Great for the Texas areas affected and those organizations that are working towards assisting in correcting the affects of the fire and mother nature.  I hope all efforts and monies are being used as affectively as possible.

 

numbnutz's picture

This was a devistating fire.

This was a devistating fire. All of the fires in Texas this year were bad. I'm glad there is money coming in to help restore some of the habitat. Thats a bummer tha the fire took out most of the park. Thats just a sad ordeal. There sure have been some bad fires all across the country this year but there is a silver lining. In a few years when the vegitation grows back the herd should have some great forage and in turn be very healthy. It's just getting through the amediate aftermath and devistation. It should be getting to the time of year where rains should be putting some of these fires out. In my home state we had a few good size fires this summer that burned a lot of land, mostly in centeral Oregon. We had one up towards Mt Hood in some very tough terrain. Luckily our rainy season has stared and will last for the next 6 months so i think all the fires have been put out already.