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      Perry drops from DeMint forum to address TX wildfires

      Texas Gov. Rick Perry

      CONWAY, S.C. (WACH, AP) -- Texas Gov. Rick Perry is skipping out on a South Carolina GOP presidential primary this Labor Day to go back to his home state to deal with major wildfires burning there.

      U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint is hosting the Palmetto Freedom Forum Monday. DeMint's office tells CNN Perry, who was scheduled to appear, will not be participating.

      So far, officials say the blaze southeast of Austin, TX has destroyed around 300 homes and is moving rapidly through the dry landscape. The forest service says more than 17,000 acres have been scorched.

      Despite Perry's absence, other leading candidates will be on hand. Read more here.

      Perry made an appearance Monday at a Labor Day town hall meeting on the South Carolina coast. The meeting in Conway was another in a series of presidential candidate events hosted by freshmen U.S. Rep. Tim Scott of the state's 1st Congressional District.

      More Primary News... Santorum on campaign trail in Midlands, Upstate DeMint hosting forum featuring leading GOP presidential candidates State treasurer to lead Romney efforts in SC Scott has also held similar sessions with former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman and U.S. Rep. Michelle Bachmann of Minnesota. A number of GOP and tea party groups are sponsoring the event that includes questions from both those attending and submitted through social media.

      South Carolina has the South's first GOP presidential primary early next year.

      (The Associated Press contributed to this report.)