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Wildfires In Spotlight As State Responders Meet

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SAN ANTONIO (AP) – Gov. Rick Perry is welcoming the first statewide gathering of emergency responders since severe drought and wildfires caused billions of dollars in damage across Texas.

Perry is scheduled Monday to deliver the keynote address at the 2012 Texas Emergency Management Conference. The focal point of the weeklong meeting will be lessons learned from last year’s historic drought and destructive wildfires.

Nim Kidd, chief of the Texas division of emergency management, says the fallout from those events have been “game changers.”

Some 26,000 fires across Texas since December 2010 have burned more than 3.9 million acres. The worst was in Bastrop, where a devastating blaze in September destroyed more than 1,600 homes and charred 33,000 acres.

Hurricane response and homeland security are also on the agenda of this year’s conference.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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