Source: Office of the Texas Governor
Gov. Rick Perry renewed his emergency disaster proclamation May 13 for the fifth time since it was originally issued on Dec. 21, 2010, due to the ongoing threat of wildfires across the state. The renewed proclamation covers all 254 counties in Texas, and directs all necessary resources be made available to aid response efforts.
Since the beginning of wildfire season, local and state firefighters have responded to more than 9,000 fires that have destroyed more than 400 homes and burned more than 2.5 million acres, an area the size of Rhode Island and Delaware combined.
“As Texas continues to suffer from one of the worst wildfire seasons in recent memory, we will continue providing all resources available to fight these fires and protect Texans’ lives and property,” Perry said. “I am thankful for the many brave Texans who are putting their lives on the line to contribute to this effort.”
On April 15, the governor sent a letter to President Barack Obama requesting a Major Disaster Declaration for the State of Texas, which would make the state eligible Direct Federal Assistance and Emergency Protective Measures from the federal government. The Obama Administration denied the governor’s request on May 3. The governor’s office is reviewing all options available and will continue working to secure the much-needed assistance Texas deserves to continue responding to wildfires.
The state continues to provide assistance to communities threatened by fires this season, including deploying hundreds of Texas Forest Service personnel and air assets to assist with multiple fires; Texas Military Forces personnel and Blackhawk helicopters to assist fire suppression efforts; Texas Department of Transportation bulldozers and other resources as needed in the affected areas; and deploying Texas Department of Public Safety Highway Patrol and multiple communications trailers to the Texas Forest Service Incident Command Post in Merkel, and other areas across the state.
Additionally, the Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid System (TIFMAS) was activated to provide additional resources to fight fires. TIFMAS is a network of Texas fire departments from across the state willing to provide emergency resources to neighboring communities during the threat of disasters. The State Operations Center has been partially activated and continues to work closely with the Texas Forest Service, National Weather Service and other state and local entities to monitor this severe wildfire threat.
To view Gov. Perry’s original request to President Obama for a Major Disaster Declaration, please visit http://governor.state.tx.us/news/press-release/16010/. To read the May 2011 Wildfire Proclamation Renewal, click here.
For more information on preparing for wildfire threats, please visit http://texasforestservice.tamu.edu/main/article.aspx?id=8512.