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Top Morning Stories 11/15/11: 1 Yr Since Wildfire Season Started, ACC Breaking Ground in Elgin

Photo by KUT News.
Charred car in Bastrop County in September. The Texas wildfire season has lasted one year since November 2010.

Texas Wildfire Season Turns A Year Old

Today marks one year since the first of the many wildfires broke out across Texas. The Texas Forest Service says fires have burned nearly 4 million acres statewide since November 2010. That includes the 34,000 acre Bastrop County Complex fire that started Labor Day weekend. Despite the rain overnight, fire bosses are bracing for another active fire season this winter.

State Assistance to Rebuild Fences Destroyed by Wildfires Extended

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples says ranchers in the state are trying to rebuild about 6,200 miles of fences lost during wildfires. Staples says the deadline to apply for assistance through the state's STAR Fund has been extended until November 30th. The fund relies on private donations. It's received a $35,000 donation.

“This year Texans have struggled with unprecedented wildfire damage and the losses continue to be counted,” Commissioner Staples said in a press release. “While our farmers and ranchers have been hit especially hard, it’s important to remember their losses impact all Americans who depend daily on food, fuel and fiber. It’s been an extremely difficult wildfire season, but thanks to Farm Credit and the spirit of generous Texans, we are able to provide assistance to those who provide for us.”

Farmers and ranchers approved for assistance could get a voucher for fencing supplies worth up to $500.

ACC to Break Ground for New Elgin Campus

Austin Community College is hosting a groundbreaking ceremony from 10 a.m. to noon to kick-off construction for its new ACC Elgin Campus. The site for the new campus is at Highway 290 and County Line Road. Elgin residents voted to join the ACC taxing district last fall. ACC officials say the campus is scheduled to open in August 2013.