I’m noticing that Texas Governor Rick Perry’s effort to pray for rain has not had the desired effect. The state is now on fire. This is obviously terrible for the people of Texas, and in recognition of that Rick Perry is skipping a Jim DeMint-sponsored forum in South Carolina to race home and try to show some leadership. Texas is obviously a hotbed of climate change-denial, but I wonder how long the people there will tolerate such nonsense in the face of the evidence. The oil and gas industry is extremely important to the Texas economy, but so is not having your whole state be a tinder box.
The largest of the fires is in Bastrop County, southeast of Austin, said Lexi Maxwell, a spokeswoman with the Texas Forest Service. The blaze has so far scorched some 14,000 acres and is threatening about 1,000 homes, she said.
It forced parts of state highways 71 and 21 to shut and additional road closures are expected, Maxwell said.
“It was like a storm coming through. You could smell the earth burning,” said Ochoa, who doesn’t know yet whether his home is OK or not. “All of Bastrop is a giant smoke cloud.”
Fires were also reported in Travis, Leon, Colorado, Burnet and Caldwell counties. About 190 homes were evacuated in Travis County.
A spokeswoman at the American Red Cross said it had opened four shelters and anticipates opening more.
The temperature in Austin has topped 100 degrees fahrenheit eighty times this year, which is an all-time record. Not only does that make for a miserable existence, it isn’t remotely normal. I don’t see how the fiction that climate change is debatable can be sustained much longer, even in the Lone Star State.