White House “monitoring” Texas wildfires, press secretary Jay Carney says

White House “monitoring” Texas wildfires, press secretary Jay Carney says

07 September 2011

published by www.blog.chron.com

USA — White House officials “are monitoring the major fires in Texas,” presidential press secretary Jay Carney said Monday. but President Obama has not yet declared the state a major disaster area as a result of the latest round of wildfires that have scorched Central, East and West Texas.

Carney said that the administration this past weekend approved seven fire management assistance grants to help defray the costs of ongoing firefighting efforts. That brings the total number of fire management assistance grants granted by the Obama administration to 52 this year. Obama also issued a major disaster declaration this past July after months of unsuccessful efforts by Gov. Rick Perry and other state officials.

Perry, who is running for president, took a detour from the campaign trail to return to the state for two days. His spokesman, Mark Miner, said the governor will be in California for a Republican presidential debate tonight. In Texas, Perry said the fires are not a partisan issue.

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