President Obama has declared 45 Texas counties to be federally recognized disaster areas, following the wildfires that scorched millions of acres of land from April 6 to May 3, 2011. The president had previously denied the declaration, angering Texas Governor Rick Perry, who criticized the decision.
The declaration means that the counties can now avail themselves of federal aid.
The declaration comes as Texans endure a continuing drought and brace for the possibility of more fires from outdoor cooking and fireworks this 4th of July weekend.
Perry responded to the announcement with a media release:
“President Obama’s decision to finally approve a portion of our disaster designation request is good for Texas and some of the communities impacted by this season’s wildfires. We will continue to work with FEMA to ensure all affected jurisdictions and entities receive the support they deserve after battling these massive fires since December. Our prayers continue to go out to those putting their lives on the line fighting these fires, as well as those whose property and livelihoods remain in danger.”