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Governor Orders Response to Texas Wildfires

Location: Austin, TX

Governor Orders Response to Texas Wildfires

Responding to the outbreak of wildfires across the state, Gov. Rick Perry has deployed fire fighters, airpower and heavy equipment to affected areas and directed the Governor's Division of Emergency Management and the Texas Forest Service to coordinate fire suppression activities to meet this threat.

"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," Perry said. "Texans living in rural communities or in suburbs bordering rural areas should remain alert to the threat of wildfires."

Texas Forest Service fire fighters have responded to 74 fires burning across more than 17,000 acres since Nov. 23. Of those, 10 are large fires affecting nearly 11,000 acres.

Wildfires currently are burning in Eastland, Montague, Parker, Wichita, Wilbarger and Wise counties.

The governor has authorized deployment of the following resources:

* Three UH 60 Blackhawk helicopters and one CH-47 Chinook helicopter from the Texas Army National Guard.
* 129 personnel from the Texas Forest Service.
* Heavy equipment from the Texas Department of Transportation.

In addition, the governor has requested two air tactical fixed wing aircraft, two medium helicopters and two single engine air tankers from the U.S. Forest Service to assist in the state's coordinated fire response.

Persistent drought conditions since spring have left many counties vulnerable to fire. Burn bans--which are prohibitions against all outdoor burning -- have been instituted in 120 counties. High winds, warm temperatures and unseasonably dry weather have caused severe wild fire danger in Northeast, North and Central Texas.

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