Office of the Governor Rick Perry

Gov. Perry Authorizes State Assets to Fight Wildfires in Central Texas

Sunday, March 01, 2009  •  Austin, Texas  •  Press Release

Gov. Rick Perry has activated state resources to combat wildfires in Central Texas.  These resources include four Texas Military Forces Blackhawk helicopters equipped to drop water and fire retardant, Texas Forest Service fire fighters and contract aircraft and heavy equipment.  A cold front sweeping through the state late Friday and Saturday increased the wildfire threat with high winds and low humidity.

“Wildfires burning in Central Texas have destroyed homes and property over the weekend, but fortunately there have been no reports of lives lost,” Gov. Rick Perry said.  “The state is assisting in battling this threat and will continue to provide necessary resources to protect our communities.  I urge all Texans to use extreme care in outdoor activities, to be aware of burn bans in their counties, and to take precautions to protect their homes and property,”

Since Jan. 1, 2009, 3,685 wildfires have burned 118,061 acres of land across the state.  These fires have threatened 1,763 homes, firefighters have saved 1,630 homes, and 57 homes were lost.

The most significant damage occurred over the weekend in Bastrop County.  These damages include 25 homes destroyed and 1,000 acres burned.  The fire is burning in heavy terrain, hampering firefighting efforts. 

State agencies, including the Texas Department of Transportation, Texas Forest Service and Texas Military Forces, are responding to fires across the state.   Local and volunteer fire departments are providing vital firefighting personnel and resources to combat these wildfires.  Volunteer organizations are also providing assistance and support for residents as needed.

As of Friday, 201 counties were threatened by wildfire conditions where local leaders have issued burn bans, which prohibit all types of outdoor burning.  (http://tfsfrp.tamu.edu/wildfires/decban.png)

Last week the governor renewed the state disaster proclamation for counties threatened by wildfire conditions.  He also sent a letter to the president requesting direct federal assistance to fund statewide efforts to combat the wildfire threat.

  View Attached Proclamation       Letter to President Obama

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