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Austin-area wildfire burns a record 476 homes in Texas

September 6, 2011 Comments off

reuters

Ashes float through the air as a wildfire burns out of control near Bastrop, Texas September 5, 2011. REUTERS/Mike Stone

Ashes float through the air as a wildfire burns out of control near Bastrop, Texas September 5, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Mike Stone

By Karen Brooks

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – A massive wildfire east of the Texas state capital of Austin has destroyed 476 homes since Sunday and is still burning out of control, state officials said on Monday.

“I’m still seeing no containment,” said April Saginor, public information officer for the Texas Forest Service, who confirmed that the Bastrop County Complex Fire has scorched more than 25,000 acres and burned 476 residences so far.

“That’s a record in Texas for a single fire,” she said of the homes destroyed.

The Bastrop fire is one of more than sixty fires which have kindled across Texas since Sunday afternoon, fueled by the gusty winds generated as Tropical Storm Lee pushed by Read more…

Texas: From droughts to extreme heat to blazing fires

September 5, 2011 Comments off

Winds fuel flare-ups in Palo Pinto County, across state

Strong north winds fueled wildfire flare-ups around Possum Kingdom Lake on Sunday and firefighters managed to contain most of them, but the rest of Texas wasn’t as lucky as thousands of acres and hundreds of homes burned in another day of the worst wildfire season in the state’s history.

A wildfire estimated to be 16 miles long near the Austin suburb of Bastrop charred about 14,000 acres Sunday, destroying or damaging an estimated 300 homes.

“It’s catastrophic,” Mark Stanford, fire chief of the Texas Forest Service, said Sunday. “It’s a major natural disaster.”

More than 40 new wildfires were reported to the Texas Forest Service on Sunday as strong winds, low humidity and very dry vegetation left firefighters scrambling to extinguish blazes throughout the state.

“We’re very stretched right now,” Tom Berglund of the Texas Forest Service said Sunday.

As of Sunday afternoon, firefighters Read more…