Greg Abbott’s Wildfire Response Raises Eyebrows

Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued a disaster declaration for 60 counties on Tuesday, but his response to the raging wildfires burning throughout the state has raised eyebrows.

Widespread wildfires consuming thousands of acres began on Monday. Authorities haven’t identified the cause, according to the Associated Press, but on Monday, multiple red flag warnings were in place across the state, advising people against outdoor burning because of the high risk of the fires growing out of control with the abnormally high temperatures and low humidity. Countless evacuations are in place, and heartbreaking videos of the fires’ impacts spread across social media on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, Abbott announced the disaster declaration on X, formerly Twitter:

“Issuing a disaster declaration for 60 counties to ensure critical resources are swiftly deployed to communities impacted by wildfires. Texans are urged to limit activities that could create sparks & take precautions to keep their loved ones safe,” Abbott posted with a link to the press release announcing the disaster declaration.

Several X accounts responded to the announcement by criticizing Abbott.

“You’re not gonna ask for any federal funds, are you?” one person responded to the disaster declaration post.

“But razor wire is the focus and important. Remember Joe Biden is still around and you gotta pretend to be mad about it,” another user wrote.

It is unclear if Abbott’s office requested federal aid from President Joe Biden for the wildfires. Newsweek reached out to Abbott’s office by email for comment.

Abbott and have been at odds how to handle the U.S.-Mexico border. Tensions have grown since January, when the U.S. Supreme Court authorized federal agents to remove razor wire placed across the Texas-Mexico border on Abbott’s orders. The wire was placed by the Texas National Guard.

In response, Abbott invoked what he said was Texas’s “constitutional authority to defend and protect itself.” Abbott’s move was supported by 25 other Republican governors and 2024 GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump, who urged other Republican governors to deploy their National Guard to the Texas border to aid Abbott in his efforts.

Abbott’s declaration activated aid from many state agencies, including the Texas A&M Forest Service, Texas Division of Emergency Management, Texas National Guard, Texas Department of Transportation, Texas Department of State Health Services, Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, Texas Animal Health Commission and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

According to the release, a Texas National Guard CH47 Chinook helicopter with firefighting capability was activated to aid in fighting the fires, but many people criticized the governor following the announcement and voiced their complaints about Abbott focusing the National Guard at the U.S.-Mexico border.

“While Tx Gov Greg Abbott has his National Guard playing “Davy Crockett” down on the border, there’s not enough manpower to fight the wildfires threatening nuclear facilities…” environmental activist Bob Lindsey posted on X on Wednesday morning.

Several social media accounts responded to Abbott’s post with words of thanks and gratitude.

One account defended Abbott and said that the National Guard is limited in its firefighting efforts.

“During wildfires, Texas National Guard is limited in what they can do, it is generally limited to Aerial Firefighting, and they have been on scene since Monday evening,” the user said. “They would be a problem and in the way doing anything on the ground.”

“State and local officials are working around-the-clock to provide a coordinated response to wildfires impacting Texans,” Abbott said in another post. “Take all precautions to protect yourself and your loved ones.”

Greg Abbott Wildfire Response Raises Eyebrows
A running wildfire threatens a home on April 19, 2011, in Strawn, Texas. Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued a disaster declaration for 60 counties on February 27, 2024, but his response to the raging wildfires…