As wildfires rage across Texas, feds take control and scuttle volunteer firefighters
Sept 7, 2011
As fires raged across central Texas for the past three days, local citizens sprang into action to protect their lives and property. Local churches opened their doors and began hosting refugees left homeless by the fires which have now destroyed more than 1,000 homes and 100,000 acres across the state in just the past week. Several branches of the YMCA also began hosting families with children, and a public school in Bastrop County opened its doors to serve as an emergency relief center.
See a YouTube video of a citizen’s narrow escape around Highway 21 near Bastrop, Texas:
Federal agencies seize control on Tuesday
Hundreds of firefighters from all the surrounding counties worked two days and nights in a heroic effort to contain the fires, but high winds Sunday night and all day Monday thwarted their efforts. So the call went out for more volunteer firefighters to join the effort from across the state.
Before they arrived, however, the federal government showed up and claimed it was in charge of the situation. “Agents with the federal National Interagency Fire Center, a coalition of federal agencies including the U.S. Forest Service, assumed command of firefighting efforts Tuesday afternoon,” reports The Gonzales Cannon (http://www.gonzalescannon.com/node/6411).
RealNewsReporter.com is now reporting that volunteer firefighters who had in some cases driven all night to reach Bastrop county were turned away by the feds, who claimed that since local officials never made a “formal request” for volunteers, the volunteers could not be “activated.”