Firefighters Gain Ground Against Texas Wildfire

Posted September 7th, 2011 at 8:00 pm (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

Firefighters in the U.S. state of Texas were for the first time gaining ground against a raging wildfire that has already destroyed nearly 800 homes.

Authorities reported Wednesday the blaze was 30 percent contained, after burning out of control for several days. They said firefighters were helped by lighter winds now that Tropical Storm Lee has moved out of the area.

The wildfire near the capital city of Austin is the most destructive of the more than 180 fires that have erupted across Texas in the past week.

Four people have died as a result of the blazes, 5,000 residents have been driven from their homes and more than 54,650 hectares of land have been burned. 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.

President Barack Obama Wednesday called Texas Governor Rick Perry to “express concern” over the fires and assure the governor that federal assistance will be available to help with firefighting efforts. According to a White House statement, Mr. Obama also said the government would quickly assess requests for additional aid, including to help the state recover once the fires are extinguished.

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