The roaring Bastrop wildfire, the most destructive in the history of Texas, continued its mayhem on Tuesday as many residents evacuated outlying subdivisions and sought out aid at Bastrop Middle School.
Since the 'monster' wildfire began on Sunday, it has engulfed thousands of acres of drought-stricken areas of Texas, devoured at least 550 homes and killed four people that include a 20-year-old mother and her 18-month-old daughter. The fire was accelerated by the roaring winds, remnants of Tropical Storm Lee, officials said.
According to officials, the Texas Forest Service has battled 181 fires in the last one week. They further added that over 118,400 acres have been burned in Central Texas and elsewhere, like Montgomery County to the east, some 30 miles east of Austin.
The worst of all these by far is the one in Bastrop County, which has forced about 5,000 people to leave their homes in Bastrop County, about 400 to seek emergency shelters and burned down through 34,000 acres. In addition, 251 of the 254 Texas counties were reporting burn bans, officials said.
The Bastrop fire is one of more than sixty fires that have erupted in drought-ridden Texas from Possum Kingdom Lake in Palo Pinto County to a swath of Central Texas not far from the state's capital city of Austin, reports the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
About 250 firefighters were trying to control the fire that stretches for 16 miles with a breadth of six miles in some spots. A Type 1 incident management team has been requested to assist at the Bastrop County Complex.
While Bastrop County, a calm city of 7,200 along the Colorado River, was the scene of the biggest fire, the roaring flames devastated 25 homes in the Steiner Ranch subdivision of Travis County and forced the evacuation of more than 1,000 homes.
Meanwhile, Gov. Rick Perry called for more help as the fire worsened. Perry said that 1,200 firefighters had been called in to Central Texas from Dallas, Houston and San Antonio to work alongside the local firefighters. He also asked the Obama administration to expand the scope of federal disaster relief.
Perry told the people to obey evacuation orders and not to stay in their homes if they had lost power.
I understand that losing your home or lifetime possessions are incredibly difficult, but do not put your life in jeopardy, he said.