Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Latest Wildfires Add to Devastating Tally

As smoke clouds another sunrise today, our hearts and prayers continue to be with our neighbors and firefighters across Texas who are struggling with the devastating burst of weekend wildfires that claimed hundreds of homes.

These families will need our material, financial and emotional support as they salvage what remains of their possessions. To help with donations, go here. For those who can help with livestock care and supplies, go here.

While it’s still too early to tally the latest losses, early estimates indicate more than 500 homes have been destroyed in Bastrop County. Another 30 or more have been lost in a separate blaze in Travis County’s Steiner Ranch neighborhood. West of Austin near Spicewood, 65 homes have been destroyed and in Leander approximately 13 homes have been lost.

Near my home in East Texas, a number of blazes broke out and, as we post this blog, the Texas Forest Service reports fires continue to burn or threaten homes in Montgomery, Waller, Walker, Grimes, Caldwell, Marion and Cass counties.

This latest round of devastation comes at a time when it seemed news of Texas wildfires could not get worse. Since the beginning of wildfire season, local and state firefighters have responded to more than 20,900 fires that have destroyed more than 3,000 structures and burned more than 3.6 million acres.

As Gov. Perry seeks federal assistance, I ask that you pray for our fellow Texans and continue to pray for rain. Meanwhile, keep out of harm’s way, obey the orders of law enforcement and fire officials, and please consider donating time and money to those who need it.

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