GEORGETOWN, Texas (KXAN) — Williamson County emergency officials estimated ice storm recovery efforts cost the county and its cities a combined $12 million so far- surpassing its disaster declaration threshold more than four times over.

Michael Shoe, director of emergency management for Williamson County, said picking up and disposing of branches has lead to a majority of those recovery costs so far.

“The amount of brush, I can’t even give you a number on it, it’s so much.,” Shoe said.

At this week’s commissioners court meeting, leaders approved the county to pursue steps with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality that would allow it to open a burn box to incinerate the debris.

The Texas Department of Emergency Management would operate the burn site, which would only be available for municipalities, county, and the Texas Department of Transportation’s use.

Shoe said crews from the county, cities, and TXDOT have been and still are collecting fallen limbs alongside the county’s right of way and roads — some of which could be burned at this site.

He also said an additional burn box may be opened on the eastern side of the county pending demand.

“Depending on how much debris we go through there, we may be able to shift it to the side of the county, hopefully in the Taylor area,” Shoe said.

As the county is not in a burn ban, Shoe said those able to burn brush piles on their land may do so.

“I counted about 10 branches or so on my property,” Owen Woodard of Georgetown said.

Woodard, 80, was cleaning up broken branches still in his yard Thursday afternoon.

He intends to burn the pile in a few weeks this spring once the bark has dried out.

“I don’t even want to worry about it,” Woodard said.

The public is asked to notify their local fire department or Emergency Services District prior to burning.