No more Texas governors for president

“Next time I tell you someone from Texas should not be president of the United States, please pay attention.” - Molly Ivins
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Posts tagged "wildfires"
Climate change is not a hoax. More drought and floods and wildfires are not a joke. They are a threat to our children’s future.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA (via inothernews)


President Barack Obama has directed federal officials to offer seasonal firefighters the option of purchasing federal health insurance coverage, White House officials told The Denver Post Tuesday.

The temporary seasonal workers who descend into fire zones are usually young people who work sundry outdoor jobs, depending on the season. Some pick up contract work removing trees in the fall or they work at ski areas in the winter. Many are college students.

But because they are not full-time U.S. Forest Service employees, they previously did not have the option of purchasing federal health insurance.

Under a directive that will be made in the “near future” from the Office of Personnel Management, this group will get that option by the end of this month, White House officials said.

I had no idea they were not eligible. Thank you to the Obama Administration for taking care of our first responders in this regard. Now, let’s work to make it more affordable. 


Here’s how you can help:

Help Community Members

There’s a community group called “Squirrel Creek Wish List” for those who’ve been evacuated and those who wish to help. Find it on Facebook here. The Red Cross is also coordinating volunteer efforts and supplies. More information on that below. 

Help the Firefighters

I talked to the crew at the Big Laramie Valley Station tonight to see what they could use. Another team of firefighters (Type 2 Incident Team) will be staying overnight at the Wycolo Fire Station, likely starting tomorrow. They’re in need of one to two dozen cots and/or sleeping bags, pillows, blankets, and sheets for those staying overnight to battle the blaze. The fire crew also needs the following:

  • Water (priority)
  • Gatorade
  • Energy Bars
  • Jerky 
  • Other prepackaged snacks
  • Wet wipes
  • Other things typically needed are lip balm, over-the-calf cotton socks, cotton t-shirts, baby powder, deodorant and other toiletries, and towels

Donations to the fire crew can be taken to the West Laramie Fire Station at 2374 Jefferson St. (designate them as donations for the Squirrel Creek fire crew), or take them to the Big Laramie Valley Station 4 at 2004 Highway 230. The road is closed just a few miles past the fire station, meaning the Wycolo Station is not accessible to citizens. If you’re unable to get supplies to either place, message me here or email me at

Get Volunteer Information

There will be a briefing by the Red Cross at the Albany County Fairgrounds (out on south Hwy 287) tomorrow at 10 AM. This is an excellent time to find out if supplies and/or volunteers are needed.

Be Safe

Finally, stay up to date on the fires and community response here on Cognitive Dissonance, get the official scoop from the Albany County Sheriff’s Office here, and get word on the progress made on the Squirrel Creek fire on InciWeb. Evacuation information can be found at both places. If you have any questions, call non-emergency dispatch at 307-721-2526. Keep in mind, there’s always rumors floating about. Though dispatch is getting slammed, it’s better to call and check before posting an area is being evacuated when it’s not online — especially areas in the city limits. That makes people panic. Currently, the fire is roughly 20-25 miles from Laramie. Here’s a map with the evacuation area marked.

To receive evacuation information, sign up for the emergency notification system CodeRED. Any pre-evacuation or evacuation notices are delivered though this system and the Sheriff’s Office website linked above. CodeRED will automatically call your phone if evacuations are ordered, and you can also elect to receive text alerts. The current evacuation point is the Albany County Fairgrounds

Remember, the fire restrictions/burn ban are still in effect for Albany County — not to mention much of the Mountain West. This Fourth of July, do not celebrate America by blowing up a small piece of it with fireworks. You might set it on fire instead. Plus, you’ll be breaking the law. So just don’t do it. You’re an ass if you do.

I’ll continue to post updates as I receive more information. Please, share this far and wide.

Stay safe folks,



Bastrop photographer displays grief, healing in gallery

Sheryl Bucsanyi’s photo exhibit has images of losing her home, two horses and two cats.

It’s also her personal story — that from a tragedy, good can follow.



A wildfire has forced the evacuation of homes on Herron Trail near Bastrop. The fire is currently 100 acres, according to officials.

Check our blog for the latest updates.

Western Travis County: Free legal clinic for those affected by the Central Texas Wildfires. Tuesday, October 5th, 6:30 - 8:00 pm at Grace Outreach 20808A W. Highway 71 in Spicewood.

Travis County has now been declared eligible to receive Individual Assistance under the Presidential Disaster Declaration for wildfires.  Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses and other programs.

Here are four ways an individual can register.


Smart Phone:

Telephone:        1-800-621-3362

TTY:                 1-800-462-7585

Have you or someone you know been displaced from work because of the wildfires here in Texas? If so, TWC has some important information for you. You have the ability to file for Unemployment Insurance through the Texas Workforce Commission.

To do so, you can apply for benefits on-line at or by calling the Tele-Center 1-800-939-6631. For information you will need in order to file, please click the following link for the brochure:           

If you are self-employed, you can file for benefits at or by calling the Tele-Center 1-800-939-6631.  When disaster unemployment becomes available, TWC will contact you for further information using the contact information provided on your claim.

Some other important information for claimants:

  • While the standard brochure reads 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM, TWC is currently operating under extended hours and is taking calls from 7:00 AM – 6:00 PM Central. 
  • Claimants need to be sure and indicate they are unable work as a direct result of the wildfires when filing their initial claim by phone or on the Internet. 
  • Work search activities are exempted temporarily for individuals out of work or unable to look for work and informs staff that it isdue to the wildfires.
  • Claimants eligible to receive Regular UI Benefits must exhaust their maximum entitlement and any emergency extensions before they can receive disaster unemployment assistance.

For more information, please contact the Tele-Center at 1-800-939-6631.

First, the right-wing National Review’s online report checked it out and found a news report from last March that “backs up Hightower’s charge,” adding that “the Perry campaign did not challenge the numbers.” An ABC News report on September 12 subsequently confirmed that Perry was demanding federal help “after slashing state fire budget.”

Someone needs to be checking the “fact” checkers.

Rick Perry unexpectedly skipped a visit to a damaged area of Texas on Saturday, as criticism of his handling and occasional tone deafness surrounding the dangerous blaze continues to grow.

Rick Perry skips press conference about Texas wildfires without notice

Last week, he skipped an event in South Carolina to go back home and deal with the wildfires – and then left the Longhorn State to go fundraise in California, the Chicago Tribune reported at the time.

He then was widely criticized after a member of his fundraising team commented that fundraising was “going like wildfire” – a term many considered tone deaf in wake of recent events.

  • Those in the counties designated for assistance to affected residents and business owners can begin the disaster application processby registering online at or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Disaster assistance applicants, who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY, should call 1-800-462-7585 directly; for those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362. .
  • The toll-free telephone numbers are available from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. (local time) Monday through Sundayuntil further notice.  Applicants registering for aid should be prepared to provide basic information about themselves (name, permanent address, phone number), insurance coverage and any other information to help substantiate losses.

Chris Barron, executive director of the State Firemen’s & Fire Marshals’ Association of Texas, told HuffPost that one department in Bastrop County has had to beg for proper clothing to use in combating wild fires. Other firefighters have paid out of pocket for that gear. They can’t wear their normal gear when battling these fires…

The budget cuts haven’t just hit local departments in need of proper gear. They’ve hit the state agency charged with inspecting that gear. The Texas Commission on Fire Protection, which regulates and inspects the personal protective gear such as breathing apparatuses and protective clothing, took a 25 percent cut. The commission has gone from 41 to 31 employees. It’s down to six inspectors covering 700 departments, including Houston’s 4,000 firefighters.

This is what Rick Perry offers you, America. Don’t listen to a word he says about being a leader, let alone a great one.

Please let AFA know of any Central TX FFs that have been displaced by fire or have suffered heavy fire damage to their homes. AFA is working with the IAFF, the Local 975 Auxiliary, and the Austin Firefighters Relief and Outreach Fund. Please provide us names and contact information of those in need. If you can provide assistance, please contact Auxiliary President Kelli Tucker at or call her at 512-587-0413. She is (and has been) assembling a list of resources.