Wildfires continue to spread across Texas

“These fires are serious and widespread, and as mean as I have ever seen, burning more than 1,000 homes since this wildfire season began.”
— Gov. Rick Perry in a press release Tuesday after taking an aerial tour of wildfire damage in Steiner Ranch.

“We were outvoted — what can I say? Obviously this money is needed for natural disasters like the ones we have right now. ... We do have a rainy day fund, and I would hope that the governor goes into the rainy day fund. But we have to also be responsible here locally, and cutting the Forest Service budget significantly was not being responsible.”
— State Sen. Mario Gallegos, D-Houston, a retired firefighter, on the reduced funding for the Texas Forest Service included in the recently passed state budget, which Gallegos voted against.

“Damage to this community is reflective of all Texas.”
— Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples on the fires ravaging Bastrop, according to The Daily Texan.

“All of the fires are not in the city limits of Austin. If the fires were in the city limits of Austin, that would have been a whole different thing, and I would have made my way back as fast as I could have.”
— Austin Fire Chief Rhoda Mae Kerr in a phone interview with the Austin American-Statesman on Tuesday on her decision to stay in Colorado for a golfing trip rather than return to Austin.

“[The fire] is not in the city of Austin. But we don’t work that way. We think of this area as a region, and we’re all in this together.”
— Mayor Lee Leffingwell on the fires, according to The Daily Texan.

“It’s a 100-year event, with fires of this magnitude. It would be better if the chief was here to at least provide guidance to the citizens.”
— Bob Nicks, president of the Austin Firefighters Association, on the fires and Kerr’s decision to stay in Colorado, according to the Statesman.

Perry on climate change

“I do believe the issue of global warming has been politicized. I think there are a substantial number of scientists who have manipulated data so that they will have dollars rolling in to their projects.”
— Perry in Bedford, New Hampshire, last month, according to CBS News.

“The complexities of the global atmosphere have often eluded the most sophisticated scientists.”
— Perry in his book, “Fed Up,” on the causes of global climate change.

“People who discount the science of climate change don’t do it because they’ve read the science. The science of climate change is a proxy for views on the role of government.”
— Andrew Dessler, professor of atmospheric sciences at Texas A&M University, according to National Public Radio.

Gov. Rick Perry appointed on Tuesday two new members to the UT System Board of Regents and re-appointed another. The governor’s office issued a press release Tuesday morning announcing the appointments. Board chair Colleen McHugh and vice-chair Janiece Longoria’s terms on the board expired Tuesday along with Brenda Pejovich’s, who was re-appointed. The board will appoint its new chair internally. The terms for the new appointees expire Feb. 1, 2017, and the appointments must be approved by the Texas Senate before the appointees can take their seats. The two new appointees, Alex Cranberg and Wallace Hall, live in Austin and Dallas, respectively. Brenda Pejovich, who Perry re-appointed, lives in Dallas. All three earned undergraduate degrees at UT. Hall and Pejovich have both served as board members on the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. “These individuals have shown a commitment to higher education issues, and the governor looks forward to their service on this board,” said Lucy Nashed, a spokeswoman for the governor, in a statement.