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Updated: Thursday, 08 Sep 2011, 2:31 PM CDT
Published : Tuesday, 06 Sep 2011, 10:08 AM CDT
BASTROP COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) - The Federal Emergency Management Agency will be on the ground in Bastrop Tuesday morning assessing damage, and those officials have already approved grants to cover some firefighting costs.
Many people watching these horrific fires have been wondering about military resources and their response to the blazes.
Gov. Rick Perry spoke to the media from Steiner Ranch, where 24 homes have been destroyed and 30 more have been damaged. Some 125 acres are burning in a fire that is only 45 percent contained.
"Even with this tragedy, the good news is there are no lives lost in these neighborhoods," said Perry. "I'm substantial more concerned Texans are being taken care of ... The answers they're looking for is our response and saving as many homes and possessions as possible."
Perry said Tuesday morning during the briefing that the process to get federal help tends to be bureaucratic.
"So we're looking for ways to break that down," said Perry. "It's more difficult than it should be to get those assets freed up from the federal government."
Perry talked about the heavy equipment that's been needed amid the fire outbreaks.
"When you have people hurting and lives in danger, I don't care who the asset belongs to," he said. "If it's sitting and not being part of the solution, then that's a problem."
"I expect the federal government to come in and do their part," Perry continued.
Still, Perry said they will be sure state resources are available and applied to the firefighting efforts in what he said has been one of the "meanest fires" he's seen.
"What I mean is it's the darkest smoke I've seen," said Perry. "Normally, you see white smoke, but these there is substantial black smoke -- which is unfortunately homes and possessions."
Perry said he has met a lot of people throughout the last couple of days, some who have lost everything. He also had an opportunity to talk to "brave first responders who are making a difference and defending property and lives, and I thank them for that."
Some Texas National Guard tankers are already in the fight.
More than 1,000 homes have been destroyed across the state, where there are currently 100,000 acres of new fires erupting. And 3.6 million acrews have burned since December, which equals the land mass of the state of Connecticut.
"We've been multitasking in this state for a long time ... blessed to have some of best emergency management in the business," said Perry. "Our state coordination is as good as anyone in the business."
Still, Perry said it's easy to forget the devastation from one careless act.
"It bears repeating: Texans need to be careful outside with any activities. Avoid any outdoor activity which cuold conceivably start a fire."
In addition to Perry's call for help, U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul has also jumped in to get help from the Department of Defense.
Yet before the military can jump in the firefight, they have to consider what resources are available and not tied up in wars or other emergencies. And officials have to establish whether or not military personnel can communicate with the civilian first responders already on the ground.
In many cases, communications systems aren't compatible, making military involvement more difficult.
Perry said once the dust has settled, officials will go back and review everything to see what can be done better the next time around.
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