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Wildfires & Drought Take Toll On Texas Tourism

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AUSTIN (AP) - Texas lawmakers are analyzing the effects of record-setting drought and wildfires on tourism statewide.

The state House Culture, Recreation and Tourism Committee will hear testimony Tuesday on state parks funding and effects of the blazes and lack of rainfall on Texas’ vacation industry.

In December, officials announced that wildfires, record heat and drought meant state parks received fewer visitors, causing a $4.6 million funding deficit.

Texas has 94 state parks and historic sites that draw nearly 8 million visitors annually. Davis Mountains, Possum Kingdom and Bastrop state parks were severely damaged by wildfires.

Last year’s wildfires destroyed nearly 4 million acres and 4,000 homes, making it the most destructive season ever.

The state also suffered its worst single-year drought on record, and continues to endure a lack of rainfall.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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