Governor Abbott Announces Joint SBA Preliminary Damage Assessments For Panhandle Wildfires

March 7, 2024 | Austin, Texas | Press Release

Governor Greg Abbott today announced that he directed the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) to request officials from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) join state and local partners to conduct joint preliminary damage assessments in communities impacted by wildfires to determine if Texas meets the threshold for additional federal disaster assistance. The federal teams are scheduled to arrive this weekend.
“To better help Texans swiftly recover from the damage caused by the devastating wildfires, I requested the U.S. Small Business Administration join our state and local officials to begin preliminary damage assessments in affected areas,” said Governor Abbott. “I urge all Texans who have been, or continue to be, impacted by these wildfires to report sustained damages to their homes or businesses through TDEM’s iSTAT survey. This SBA assistance will be a crucial first step for Texans in the Panhandle to begin to rebuild and recover from these wildfires.”  
Officials continue to review disaster damage information self-reported by Texans through TDEM’s Individual State of Texas Assessment Tool (iSTAT) surveys. Affected Texans are urged to report wildfire damage using the iSTAT damage surveys when it is safe to return home. This information will help guide officials to areas where damage has occurred.
With more than 1,000 state responders supporting the state’s continued response to wildfires burning in the Texas Panhandle, the following active wildfires have ongoing state support as of today:

  • Grape Vine Creek Fire, Gray County – est. 34,883 acres, 96% contained
  • Smokehouse Creek Fire, Hutchinson County - est. 1,058,482 acres, 74% contained
  • Windy Deuce Fire, Moore County – est. 144,207 acres, 89% contained

Governor Abbott continues to take action to provide all available resources to help support local communities and protect Texans from these devastating wildfires, including:

  • Holding a briefing with lead state response agencies as well as local partners in Canadian to discuss and provide an update on the state’s continued response efforts.
  • Issuing a disaster declaration for 60 Texas counties in response to widespread wildfire activity. Additional counties may be added as conditions warrant.
  • Holding a briefing with state and local officials in Borger and providing an update on the state’s ongoing response to wildfires impacting the state. 
  • Granting waivers for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TxDMV), and Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) to support a swift state response in support of impacted Texans. 
  • Directing TDEM to deploy additional state emergency response resources and raise the readiness level of the State Emergency Operations Center to support the priority needs of communities facing impacts from these wildfires. 
  • Receiving approval from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for a Fire Management Assistance Grant (FMAG) request for the Smokehouse Creek Fire and Windy Deuce Fire, meaning that Texas will be eligible for 75% reimbursement from the federal government for costs associated with fighting those fires

With elevated-to-critical fire weather conditions expected throughout West Texas at least through the end of the week, Texans are urged to continue to enact wildfire prevention measures including avoiding activities that cause sparks, monitoring local weather reports, and heeding all warnings from local officials.
Texans can access wildfire resources by visiting