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Texas governor fumes over wildfires aid

April 29, 2011 at 10:43 PM   |   Comments

SAN ANTONIO, April 29 (UPI) -- Texas Gov. Rick Perry claims the federal government is lagging in relief efforts to help the state battle stubborn and costly wildfires.

Speaking in San Antonio, Perry was clearly annoyed with Washington's response to the fires that have scorched more than 1.5 million acres this year, the San Antonio Express-News reported.

Addressing about 3,000 delegates at the Texas Emergency Management Conference, Republican Perry questioned why tornado-battered southern states were receiving immediate aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency while his request for a federal disaster declaration was apparently being ignored.

Perry's frustration was such that he left a criticism of FEMA and the federal administration unfinished.

"Why are you taking care of Alabama, why are you taking care of other states, and for some reason …," Perry said before pausing and adding, "The letter didn't get lost in the mail."

Marq Webb, a spokesman for the Texas Forest Service, told the Abilene Reporter-News fires in the tinder-dry state were relatively light Thursday.

More than 900 buildings have been destroyed by the fires, the reports said.

FEMA spokeswoman Rachel Racusen said Texas has received 22 fire-related relief grants, but didn't know the value.

Eqecat, a catastrophe risk-modeling firm that advises insurance, reinsurance and financial companies, said Friday insured losses from the fires in Texas "have probably already exceeded $100 million." Insured losses from the most recent tornadoes is estimated at $2 billion to $5 billion, the company said.

© 2011 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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