There is an urgent need of a federal disaster declaration to help respond to wildfires throughout the state, said David Dewhurst on Friday, after almost a week of major wildfire in Bastrop Texas.
David Dewhurst said the last 10 months since fire season began in November had been the driest in the state since 1895.
“We need help yesterday,” he said.
Rick Perry left Texas on Wedneday to attend a television debate and now he is raising funds in California. David Dewhurst is Texas Lt. Governor and since Perry left he is acting governor. He said there had been no response to the statewide disaster declaration request, although White House said Obama administration had approved seven federal grants. A disaster declaration gives Texas access to heavy equipment, personnel, supplies and other support needed after almost 300 days of wildfires, thus Dewhurst has signed another request. Obama administration has approved a limited disaster declaration for fires in April and May, but Texas has huge problems since January, Dewhurst said.
However, Federal Emergency Management Agency were getting disaster declarations for specific counties, including Bastrop Texas.
Around 1,400 homes have been burnt to the ground in the last week. Important wildfires are in Travis, Grimes, Cass, Montgomery and Waller counties, Texas Forest Service said.
Some residents were allowed to return to their home places to evaluate the damages, but others are getting frustrated because they are still not permitted to go to survey their property. County Judge Ronnie McDonald said main priority was getting people secure.
Texas Task Force 1 is searching the area for victims, until now the deaths toll in Bastrop Texas is two.
One of the dead people was identified as Michael Troy Farr, 48, who was found Tuesday at his home on Hudson Drive near Smithville. He was a master electrician in Austin and since 2003.
The wildfires have been very uncommon this year due to drought, hottest summer, Tropical Storm Lee, the massive growth in Texas’ population (doubled since 1970), urbanization, and cultivation of non-native plants which burn more easily.
The Bastrop Texas wildfire was over 30 percent contained Friday.