Texas Wildfires 2011: 1.6 Million Acres Burned
Wildfires Rage Across Texas: 2011 a Record Year
32 different wildfires are blazing across Texas, spurred by the dry weather. Over a thousand firefighters are battling the blazes, and the Texas Forest Service has deployed the Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System (MAFFS) for the first time. The MAFFS units are mounted in C-130 aircraft, thre of which have been sent for duty against the Texas wildfires.
The US Forest Service acknowledges that its resources are stretched in fighting the Texas wildfires, but that it isn't at the end of its rope. Firefighters from neighboring states have also joined the effort to stamp out the wildfires, which have so far consumed over 1.6 million acres.
So far, nearly 250 homes have been destroyed.
The state reported 20 new fires on Sunday alone, including one near Austin started by a homeless man who went on a beer run, leaving his campfire unattended. Ten homes have been heavily damaged in the fire, which is now 50 percent contained near the Austin city limits.
Texas Governor Rick Perry asked President Barack Obama for a Major Disaster Declaration, so that Texas could use federal funds to battle the wildfires. (Perry's letter to Obama: pdf)