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Top Morning Stories April 15, 2011

Favorable wildfire conditions are spreading east, according to the Texas Forest Service
Image courtesy Austin Fire Department
Favorable wildfire conditions are spreading east, according to the Texas Forest Service

Wildfires Threaten More Areas of Texas

The Texas Forest Service says more parts of the state now need to be worried about the threat of wildfires. The agency says the area with significant fire potential will expand today to include parts of Central, North, and South Texas. That includes all areas west of line that curves down from just west of the Dallas-Fort Worth area, to Fredericksburg, to Del Rio. 

In the past week, the Forest Service has responded to 81 fires that have burned just over 442,000 acres. Central Texas will be under a fire weather watch from Thursday morning through Friday evening.

Last Day for Voter Registration

Today’s the deadline to register to vote in the May 14 City of Austin general elections.  Three Austin City Council seats are on the ballot. Incumbents Chris Riley, Randi Shade and Laura Morrison are up for re-election. Early voting will start on Monday, May 2. Travis County voters can find more information at

Redistricting Map Released by House Committee

Yesterday the Texas House Redistricting Committee released the first version of a voter map that takes staggering population growth into consideration. The map is the starting point for debate on redistricting in Texas.

Here's more from KUT's political reporting partner, the Texas Tribune:

The first House redistricting maps are out, creating one new Latino district, keeping the current number of black opportunity districts and pairing 16 incumbents in districts where they would face one of their colleagues in the 2012 elections. "I want to thank the members of the House for working with the Redistricting Committee over the past weeks and months. We have received public testimony from across the state at hearings and submitted written materials. I deeply appreciate everyone's participation," said Redistricting Chairman Burt Solomon, R-Carrollton, in a written statement. "As a member, I know this is a very personal process, and I appreciate the patience and understanding that I have received from my colleagues. The map we are proposing is a fair and legal map that represents the people of Texas and our growth over the last 10 years. And, I believe the members understand this growth resulted in some difficult decisions for me personally."