Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Gov. Perry Visits Bastrop

Governor Perry took questions from the media during a briefing at the Bastrop Convention Center
Photo by Reshma Kirpalani for KUT News
Governor Perry took questions from the media during a briefing at the Bastrop Convention Center

Governor Rick Perry skipped a high-profile Tea Party forum in South Carolina to fly back to Central Texas as wildfires scorch thousands of acres.

“It was a surreal experience today,” Perry said at a news conference with emergency management officials at the Bastrop Convention Center. “I have seen a number of big fires in my life. This one is as mean looking as I’ve ever seen, partly because it’s so close to the city.”

The blaze that erupted in Bastrop on Sunday has burned at least 25,000 acres and destroyed 476 homes.

Texas has deployed a wide range of government assets to help combat the flames, Perry said. Those include:

  • 15 single-engine air tankers
  • 2 Chinook helicopters
  • 4 Blackhawk helicopters

Perry said he was hoping to enlist the help of Department of Defense resources out of Fort Hood, particularly bulldozers and motograders that could clear a perimeter around the fire to prevent it from spreading.
Missing tonight’s town hall, hosted by U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina), meant that Perry lost a chance to make his case to a wide range of Tea Party conservatives.

“I’m not paying any attention to politics right now,” Perry said in response to a question on the issue. “People’s lives and their possessions are in danger, and that‘s substantially more important.” He received a round of applause from the emergency officials in the room.

Perry will still have plenty of chances to appeal to Tea Party voters. A Tea Party Express debate is scheduled on Monday, September 15, and the Governor has been campaigning extensively in early primary states.

Nathan Bernier is the transportation reporter at KUT. He covers the big projects that are reshaping how we get around Austin, like the I-35 overhaul, the airport's rapid growth and the multibillion dollar transit expansion Project Connect. He also focuses on the daily changes that affect how we walk, bike and drive around the city. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @KUTnathan.
Related Content