Governors Promise Aid for Texas/OK

1-2-06 - Gov. Rick Perry today traveled to Nocona and Ringgold, two towns in fire-ravaged Montague County where 3,200 residents were evacuated to safety yesterday. Perry met with local officials and took a helicopter tour to assess damages.

“Texas is continuing to make every effort to protect lives and property,” Perry said. “And we have received much-appreciated aid from other states, including Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Wisconsin, and support from the U.S. Forest Service.”

In the past 24 hours, the state responded to 58 wildfires which destroyed 72 homes and burned almost 50,000 acres of land. Ringgold was particularly hard-hit, with its approximately 100 residents losing 32 homes. To battle these blazes, Texas aircraft flew 122 missions dropping more than 147,350 gallons of fire retardant.

“I want to thank the thousands of fire fighters throughout the state who – at great peril – have saved the lives and homes of their fellow Texans. Their efforts have been remarkable,” Perry said. “Since the fires began, more than 500 homes and entire towns have been saved by our heroic local firefighting crews and a quick and coordinated statewide response.”

More than 520 state and out-of-state fire fighters are on the ground helping the thousands of local and volunteer fire fighters. Texas has 97 aircraft fighting the blazes from above, in addition to the 88 bulldozer crews and 32 fire engines fighting the fires from the ground.

Governor Brad Henry and other state leaders met with one of the Oklahoma City families whose home was leveled by a wildfire.

Howard and Debra Lusk's three-level brick home was reduced to a
pile of rubble after wildfires swept through a portion of far northeast Oklahoma City last night.

Henry pledged to do all he could to help provide firefighters with the resources they need. He says he's still waiting to hear from federal officials on a request for a federal disaster declaration.

Howard says he and his wife noticed a smell of smoke last night and looked out to see portions of their grass on fire. As massive flames came toward their home, the couple quickly got in their truck and fled the area.

Four homes were destroyed in yesterday's wildfire in northeast
Oklahoma City.

Statewide, officials say more than one dozen homes and 110,000 acres burned in wildfires yesterday.