Gov. Perry Declares State Of Emergency For 152 Texas Counties

Men watch a grass fire in Parker county near Aledo, Texas, Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2008. High winds have spread fires over many areas of North Texas.
Men watch a grass fire in Parker county near Aledo, Texas, Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2008. High winds have spread fires over many areas of North Texas.

Gov. Rick Perry today issued a state disaster proclamation for 152 counties in response to the threat posed by wildfires rapidly spreading in areas across the state. Burn bans are already in place in these Texas counties. This disaster proclamation allows affected counties to be eligible for state assistance.

"I urge Texans to exercise extreme caution as conditions remain favorable for the development of wildfires across the state," said Gov. Perry.  "Vigilance and good judgment are key to ensuring Texans' families, homes and places of work remain safe."

Counties certified in the disaster proclamation are: Andrews, Archer, Armstrong, Atascosa, Bandera, Baylor, Bell, Bexar, Bosque, Brewster, Briscoe, Brooks, Brown, Carson, Castro, Childress, Clay, Cochran, Coke, Collingsworth, Comal, Comanche, Concho, Cooke, Coryell, Crane, Crockett, Crosby, Culberson, Deaf Smith, Delta, Denton, Dickens, Dimmit, Eastland, Ector, Edwards, Ellis, Erath, Fannin, Fisher, Foard, Frio, Garza, Gray, Grayson, Guadalupe, Hale, Hall, Hamilton, Hansford, Hardeman, Haskell, Hays, Hemphill, Hidalgo, Hill, Hockley, Hood, Howard, Hudspeth, Hunt, Hutchinson, Irion, Jeff Davis, Jim Hogg, Jim Wells, Johnson, Jones, Karnes, Kaufman, Kendall, Kent, Kerr, Kimble, King, Kinney, Kleberg, Knox, LaSalle, Lamar, Lamb, Lampasas, Liberty, Limestone, Lipscomb, Live Oak, Llano, Loving, Lynn, Martin, Mason, Maverick, McCulloch, McLennan, Medina, Menard, Midland, Milam, Mills, Mitchell, Montague, Motley, Navarro, Nolan, Nueces, Oldham, Palo Pinto, Parker, Parmer, Pecos, Potter, Presidio, Rains, Randall, Reagan, Real, Refugio, Robertson, Rockwall, Runnels, San Saba, Schleicher, Somervell, Starr, Stephens, Sterling, Stonewall, Sutton, Swisher, Tarrant, Taylor, Terry, Throckmorton, Tom Green, Travis, Upton, Uvalde, Val Verde, Van Zandt, Waller, Ward, Washington, Wheeler, Wichita, Wilbarger, Willacy, Wilson, Winkler, Wise, Young and Zavala.

High winds and lack of precipitation have dried grass and other vegetation across the state, posing significant fire danger. In addition, a major cold front is expected to enter the state this evening with sustained winds of 30 to 50 miles per hour in some areas.

To address the potential threat, seven Texas Military Forces utility helicopters have been activated and are stationed in Austin, San Antonio and Dallas/ Forth Worth (DFW), and one CH-47 helicopter is currently on standby in DFW area. The Texas Department of Transportation is providing fuel for Volunteer Fire Department personnel and assisting in suppressing the fires. The Public Utility Commission of Texas is restoring power. The State Operations Center remains at the highest level of activation to monitor the situation. The Governor's Division of Emergency Management is coordinating state support for local officials.

Cathryn Khalil, reporting.