OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Governor Brad Henry on Tuesday signed a bill to provide nearly $9 million to help fire departments across the state pay the cost of fighting recent wildfires.


Flanked by firefighters and state lawmakers, Henry said the money will help local departments repair and replace equipment and budgets depleted by the fires.


"This measure brings much-needed aid to the firefighters who have acted with true heroism battling wildfires over the past several months," Henry said during the bill signing ceremony. "It is absolutely critical that we provide better funding, equipment and training for our firefighters."


More than 2,800 fires have burned about 560,000 acres across the state since November 1. More than 300 homes and businesses have been destroyed and more than 800 were damaged.


At least three people have died in the blazes, including a volunteer firefighter.


President Bush issued a federal disaster declaration for the state January 10.