According to KVUE-TV, the state of Texas, under Gov. Rick Perry, cut state funding for the volunteer fire departments that protect most of the state from wildfires. Firefighters have actually been dipping into their own pockets to fight fires.
Volunteer departments that were already facing financial strain had their funding cut from $30 million to $7 million. There are 879 volunteer fire departments in Texas; 114 are paid fire departments, while 187 departments are a combination of volunteer and paid.
At a press conference Monday, Perry promised to seek federal disaster relief and said that FEMA would be in the state by Wednesday.
While the Texas governor has been highly critical of FEMA in the past, he dodged questions from CBS’ Erica Hill on Tuesday's 'Early Show,' insisting that now was not the time to worry about reforming the agency.
Perry said: “The issue is taking care of these people right now. We can work our way through any conversations about how to make agencies more efficient, how to make Department of Defense equipment, for instance, more available. There are a lot of issues we can talk about, but the fact of the matter is now is not the time to be trying to work out the details of how to make these agencies more efficient. Let’s get people out of harm’s way.”