4 Dead in Texas Wildfires

Posted September 6th, 2011 at 8:55 pm (UTC-5)
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The death toll from wildfires burning out of control in the parched U.S. state of Texas has risen to four with more than 1,200 firefighters struggling against the flames.

Republican Governor Rick Perry cut short a presidential campaign appearance in South Carolina Monday to rush back to his home state. More than 180 fires have erupted across the state in the past week.

Five thousand residents have been driven from their homes, nearly 48,000 hectares of land have been destroyed, and more than 1,000 housed have burned.

Some Texas residents had hoped for some needed rain from Tropical Storm Lee, which came ashore Sunday in neighboring Louisiana. But Lee only helped create more wind, making firefighters' jobs even harder.

The White House says the Obama administration has approved seven federal grants to Texas authorities to help with the firefighting efforts.

The entire state is suffering through a nearly year-long drought which has made many areas dangerously hot and dry — the perfect conditions for wildfires.