Bastrop Country Fire Remains Uncontrolled, Could Continue for Days

  on September 06 2011 10:41 AM
Wildfire in Texas
Flames engulf vegetation near Bastrop State Park as a wildfire burns out of control near Bastrop, Texas, September 5, 2011. An estimated 1,000 houses are being threatened in Bastrop County, just east of Austin, as a 14,000-acre (5700-hectare) wildfire rages out of control, causing evacuations. Reuters

The wildfire burning through Bastrop Couny, Texas raged on with undiminished fury on Tuesday morning, with officials warning that they could be days away from controlling the blaze.

The flames have consumed more than 30,000 acres and about 600 homes, forcing more than 5,000 residents to evacuate their homes.

County officials said at a Monday press conference that the fire was too deadly to combat on the ground, forcing firefighters to take to the sky in planes and helicopters, including Black Hawk helicopters.

Tropical Storm Brings Wind, Not Rain

Strong winds from the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee have helped to feed the fire as it engulfs land parched by a scorching drought that has stretched throughout the summer. Texas Forest Service Victoria Koenig told the Associated Press that the winds appeared to have died down, offering firefighters a smoldering glimmer of hope.

It's encouraging we don't have winds right now, not like yesterday, Koenig said early Tuesday morning.

There are at least 50 fires burning across the state, prompting governor Rick Perry to abandon the campaign trail and return to Texas.

I have never seen a fire season like this. We have lost more than 3.5 million acres to brush fires, that is an area larger than the state of Connecticut, Perry said on Monday. We have a long way to go to get this thing contained.

Authorities in Gregg County, in northeast Texas, say a 20-year-old woman and her 18-month-old daughter were killed on Sunday when the fire trapped them in their mobile home.

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