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Thu September 8, 2011
Texas Wildfires Rage On With More Than 1,000 Homes Destroyed
Texas authorities said today that the wildfires that began Sunday in Bastrop have destroyed 1,386 homes. The Austin American Statesman reports that officials came to that number by going "house by house and driveway by driveway."
NPR member station KUT reports the wildfire in Bastrop County is still raging. The Texas Forest Service told them that fire is 30 percent contained.
Other parts of Texas are facing the same predicament. The Houston Chronicle reports that fires have forced the evacuation of thousands and destroyed dozens of homes in the Houston suburbs. There are two main fires, the paper reports: One in Montgomery County, which is mostly contained, and a new "hot spot" in Waller County, which firefighters lost of control of last night.
The Chronicle sets the scene:
Dozens of residents gathered with their cameras to watch the black smoke boiling into the clouds by the blockade on FM 1488 near the entrance to Remington Forest.
Diana Ballard, a jewelry distributor standing at the blockade, saw videos showing her home in Remington burned to the ground. But she is waiting there to see it for herself.
As she fled her home, the last thing Ballard remembers seeing were flames 50 feet high in her neighbor's yard. She was ordered to evacuate so quickly that she was unable to catch two of her frightened cats, though she was able to take her four greyhounds, three parrots and one other cat with her.
"I left the door open, but I'm worried about what happened to the other two," Ballard said.
The Texas Forrest Service has a map on its website that shows you just how widespread the fires are. You can see that they spread from the East Texas border with Louisiana, across the Dallas suburbs and into the Texas Hill Country.
The Dallas Morning News says about 180 wildfires are burning across the state.