Photo from United Rescue Alliance
Eastland County Fire Relief Update
As of June 8, 2022
The Community Foundation of Abilene and Eastland Community Foundation have granted another $200,000 from the Eastland County Fire Relief Fund to repair and rebuild homes damaged in the Eastland Complex fires in March.
These grants went to the United Rescue Alliance (URA), which is the agency appointed by Eastland County Judge Rex Fields to manage relief and recovery efforts in the field (see more below). URA will conduct assessments and use the funds to pay for needs such as home rebuilding, plumbing repairs, electrical work, etc.
The total amount granted for relief and recovery so far is $270,000. The fund has raised a total of nearly $520,000, leaving $244,000 to be granted out. We anticipate these remaining funds will go out in the next several weeks to meet more recovery needs.
For a more detailed overview of how funds are being used and how the disaster response process works, see our recap below.
Fund Purpose & Partnership
The Community Foundation of Abilene (CFA) and Eastland Community Foundation (ECF) created the Eastland County Fire Relief Fund to provide a secure way for people to donate to support victims and volunteer fire departments affected by the Eastland Complex fires in March of 2022.
The fires burned more than 50,000 acres of land, destroyed more than 80 homes, and led to the passing of an Eastland County Sheriff’s deputy.
Grants from this fund are designated to meet needs related to fires in several Eastland County communities, including the towns of Carbon, Gorman, Rising Star, Eastland, and surrounding areas.
Total Funds and Grants
The CFA and ECF have granted a total of around $270,000 from the fund so far. $30k has been used for immediate relief needs; $200k is for long-term rebuilding and repairs; and $40k went to Eastland County volunteer fire departments.
The fund has raised a total of nearly $520,000, leaving around $244,000 to be granted out. These remaining funds will likely go out by mid-summer as more recovery needs are assessed.
How Funds are Used
100% of donations to this fund will be used for fire relief in Eastland County.
Grants from this fund only go to nonprofit organizations and volunteer fire departments. IRS rules restrict community foundations from making grants to individual people.
Grants support three primary purposes:
Emergency Management and United Rescue Alliance Roles
In many Texas counties, the county judge serves as the emergency management coordinator. Soon after the fires broke out, Eastland County Judge Rex Fields appointed the United Rescue Alliance as the agency to lead the disaster response process.
The URA is an international disaster and crisis response organization headquartered in the Abilene, Texas region. Their team is trained to assess a community’s needs following a disaster and determine how to effectively and efficiently use funds to meet as many unmet needs as possible.
For more information on URA’s assessment process and/or how to contact them for assistance, click here.
As a side note, URA suffered its own property damage and loss in the Mesquite Heat fire. They are headquartered on the historic Camp Barkeley training area where 500 acres burned, and they lost several buildings on the property.
Other Fire Relief Funds
March wildfires also caused damage in other Big Country communities, including Coleman and Brown counties. CFA has other fire relief funds serving these communities.
Then, just two months following the Eastland Complex Fires, the Mesquite Heat fire broke out in the View, Texas region southwest of Abilene. This fire burned more than 10,000 acres and dozens of homes and buildings.
We have a separate Big Country Fire Relief Fund to provide support for needs related to the Mesquite Heat fire, and the URA is also leading disaster response efforts in this community.
We are indescribably grateful to everyone who has donated to support all of the communities affected by these devastating fires, and we are thankful for the volunteer firefighters who worked tirelessly to keep people safe.
We also want to thank URA’s crews for the countless hours of service they have contributed in order to provide organized relief to the communities that need it most.
If you have any questions related to CFA’s fire relief funds or other services, our team is happy to have a conversation. Please contact us any time at firstname.lastname@example.org or 325-676-3883.