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Texas governor renews statewide fire disaster declaration

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - The governor of Texas, where drought-triggered deadly wildfires have scorched millions of acres, renewed his proclamation of a statewide disaster on Saturday and called again on the federal government to help.

Perry said the fires, which have burned since November, have now destroyed more than 460 homes and burned more than 2.8 million acres, making this "one of the worst wildfire seasons in the state's history."

In April, Perry asked the administration of President Barack Obama to declare Texas a disaster area as a result of the fires -- a move that would make it easier for the state to get more federal dollars.

But the administration denied the request, saying the Federal Emergency Management Agency had already awarded dozens of grants to Texas to help defray the cost of fighting the fires and that the state does not need additional support at this time.

Perry, a Republican, has appealed that decision.

In a press release announcing his renewal of the disaster proclamation, Perry said, "I urge the federal government to quickly grant Texas the assistance we have requested - and that Texans deserve - to fight these fires."

Drought conditions and high winds have fueled the wildfires, which have also killed two volunteer firefighters.

(Writing by James B. Kelleher; Additional Reporting by Corrie MacLaggan; Editing by Greg McCune)

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