WASHINGTON, D.C. -- State, federal and local government resources are battling Texas wildfires that have burned more than 117,800 acres since May 1. This year, there has been more than 3,000 fires reported across the state. The situation has been intensified by one of the worst droughts in the state in half a century. Forecasters are calling for typical summer weather patterns this year, with little or no significant rainfall in the short-term.
Governor Bush has activated the State's emergency plans in 207 counties due to the fire hazard, and has issued a proclamation designating local states of emergency in those same jurisdictions. One hundred and seven counties are under burn bans as hot and dry conditions continue across the state.
As of June 22, officials have responded with state and federal resources in 16 Texas counties, the areas in which the most significant blazes are burning. Those fires are burning in Travis, Dallas, Gillespie, Bexar, Williamson, McLennan, Rusk, Angeline, Montgomery, Jasper, Potter, Upshur, Cherokee, Smith, Nacogdoches and Jeff Davis counties. These fires average 100 acres and each county may have more than one blaze burning at any given time.
Among the agencies battling the fires are the U.S. and Texas Forest Services, the Texas Department of Transportation, the Texas National Guard, the Texas Department of Public Safety and many local fire departments.
Texas state officials report three deaths and one injury related to the fires. There is currently no reported sheltering activity. State officials also report the fires have not closed any roads or damaged any utilities.