As Texas continues to burn, Rick Perry's financial managers joke that his fundraising efforts are going "like wildfire". Meanwhile here in the crispy Lone Star State, our people, livestock, businesses, and habitats continue to struggle in the face of unprecedented drought and fire.
In a dry spell unseen since 1895, Texas added 24 new wildfires burning 1,154 acres to a disaster that has so far torched more than 1,000 homes, the state's Forest Service said Saturday.
In all, Texas has experienced 179 fires over 170,686 acres the past week, the service said. The past 10 months have been the driest in Texas since 1895, Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said.
The destruction toll prompted President Barack Obama on Friday night to declare that a major disaster exists in Texas.
While progress has been made, we are far from getting our Texas wildfires under control. The following links provide updates:
Follow along below the smoldering ember of rage for more...
Not surprisingly, our Secessionist-in-Chief is nowhere to be found, as the lure of California deep-pocket donors has kept him in California for days after the GOP debate. He's left the state in the hands of Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst and President Obama, proving once again that, if you want any help for the long-suffering citizens of the Lone Star State, you'd better cut Rick Perry out of the loop.
"Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster," the White House said in a statement.
The declaration comes after Lt. Gov. Dewhurst expressed frustration with the lack of response from the federal government as the fires consumed hundreds of houses.
Dewhurst had said he got no response to a statewide disaster declaration request earlier this week. So he has signed another one to drive the point home. Dewhurst is acting governor while Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican presidential candidate, travels.
As chronicled in my Snarky Diary, Perry has plenty to keep him occupied in California, land of gullible deep-pocket donors who seem to like his pay-to-play model. It must be exhausting work, though, because once he returned to Texas...
From: Perry a No Show
Gov. Rick Perry, who was scheduled to be in Bastrop today to see and talk about the latest on the wildfires, didn’t show up.
His office had sent out two advisories about his media availability. The second one gave a new location for the event. But when the cameras started rolling, Perry wasn’t there.
His staff said he was in Austin, stymied by the logistics of showing up after the location was changed... Castle didn’t say exactly why he couldn’t make it to the new location.
Perry just got back to Texas after a California campaign swing.
"Stymied", eh? Maybe Chris Christie could have loaned him one of his helicopters. The distance between Austin and Bastrop is about 30 miles.
Thankfully, help is on the way for the people and businesses ravaged by our epic fires. As you can see from the information below, however, there's much to be done, even after folks are relocated to temporary housing:
... a Major Disaster Declaration for the State of Texas was issued by President Obama, triggering release of funds to help individuals whose homes and property were destroyed by the Bastrop Complex fires. Individuals are encouraged to register with FEMA…
... Hotel vouchers are also available beginning today for those currently living in shelters. This allows citizens whose homes were destroyed to move from makeshift shelters into motels until more permanent housing is re-established. Vouchers may be picked up at shelters.
..."Fire crews and utility crews are working hard in order to get residents back into their homes as quickly and safely as possible."
... After a fire burns through a residential area, many hazards still exist because of the disruption of the infrastructure in place such as affected electrical, water, gas, telephone lines, crude oil wells, roads, dead trees and limbs, and smoldering stump holes. Re-construction and re-charge of live electrical power lines is also taking place by 120 utility crews in order to restore power so residents may return to their homes.
Fire crews are cutting and removing hazard trees that may fall at any time with light wind gusts. A night shift of firefighters is patrolling the perimeter of the fire to ensure hot spots are extinguished so that fire does not flare up. ...Law enforcement is patrolling evacuated areas at all times to prevent looting.
Don't get me started on the fact that Perry cut firefighting services by 75%, or this diary will turn into a manifesto. Just try to imagine the scope of the fires, and the daunting magnitude of the response. Then imagine how our Secessionist-in-Chief must feel having to rely on President Obama and FEMA in our hour of need while he's telling his besotted Tea Party followers how he's going to dismantle the Federal government.
Maybe being a "no show" is the only logical outcome. But next time, Rick, just stay the hell out of Texas. Then you wouldn't have to have your minions explain why you couldn't travel 30 miles when so many brave Texans have traveled to hell and back.
2:20 PM PT: Thank you for getting this on the Rec list! I am grateful to have the most intelligent, insightful, and good-humored (and probably good-looking) commenters on DailyKOS!