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Two dead, hundreds of homes burned in TEXAS WILDFIRES | Reuters

September 5, 2011

Two dead, hundreds of homes burned in Texas wildfires

By Jim Forsyth

SAN ANTONIO | Mon Sep 5, 2011 10:11am EDT

(Reuters) – Sixty separate wildfires, whipped by strong gusts of wind spawned by Tropical Storm Lee as it moved north, burned cross Texas on Monday, destroying hundreds of homes and leaving at least two people dead.

Authorities in Gregg County, in northeast Texas, say a fire there killed a 20 year old woman and her 18 month old daughter, who were trapped in their mobile home by flames.

Officials said the worst of the fires was east of Austin, where the Bastrop County Complex fire stretched for 16 miles. has destroyed 20,000 acres, and was zero percent contained.

“We have about 16 miles long at this time and about six miles wide,” said Bastrop County Fire Chief Ronnie McDonald.

Residents said the fire had moved at an amazing speed, driven by the strong, gusty winds.

“It’s pretty dire,” Justice Jones of the Texas Forest Service said on Monday morning.

The Bastrop Complex fire has forced the evacuation of several subdivisions in the county of 70,000 people.

“This is a shock,” said one man as he drove out of the fire zone near Bastrop with his family. “We had some nice plans for Labor Day, and this gives you a sick feeling.”

Jones says aircraft, including at least one air tanker, were dropping tons of water on the fast-moving fire on Monday. Fire crews set up a fire line at a county road on the south end of the fire, where they hope to stop its spread.

via Two dead, hundreds of homes burned in Texas wildfires | Reuters.

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