Wind-fueled Texas wildfires have consumed 852 homes within two days and more than 1,000 have been destroyed in the past seven days, officials say.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry has said more than 100,000 acres have burned in his drought-stricken state. He took a break from the campaign trail on Monday to return to Texas to oversee the firefighting efforts.
I'll be real honest with you I'm not paying any attention to politics right now, Perry told ABC News. There's plenty of time to take care of that. People's lives and their possessions are in danger. That's substantially more important.
The largest wildfire is currently running rampant just east of Austin and burned at least 600 homes and blackened 30,000 acres, according to reports.
Tom Boggus, director of the Texas Forest Service, told CBS'' The Early Show that as of Tuesday morning there has been no containment of the fire.
We've been in a defensive mode for a couple of days now, and really all you can do is get people out of the way, protect homes where you can, and make sure our firefighters are safe, Boggus has said in the interview. But today, the winds have died down so we can probably be much more aggressive, and we hopefully can get some containment on all these fires in the Austin area.
Texas Forestry Services officials were fighting 63 new fires on Sunday on more than 32,000 acres, which included 22 new large fires.
More than 3.6 million acres, or 1.5 million hectares, in Texas have been scorched by wildfires since November. About $5 billion in damages have been done to the state's agricultural industry, according to reports.
Here's more update from the Forestry Service
Wildfire update - Sept. 6, 2011
- Yesterday Texas Forest Service responded to 22 new fires for 7,544 acres, including 10 new large fires.
- In the past seven days Texas Forest Service has responded to 181 fires for 118,413 acres.
- It appears that in the past 48 hours, more than 700 homes have been destroyed. As better assessments come in, we will continue to update the situation report.
- 251 of the 254 Texas counties are reporting burn bans.
- Daily detailed fire information can be found at inciweb.org.
New large fires from yesterday (more than 100 acres in timber, 300 acres in lighter fuels; or where homes were lost):
*Note: Details on many fires are still unconfirmed. The Dispatch Tracker System was down most of yesterday and went down again this morning. Most of the details below are from late last night.
RILEY ROAD, Grimes County. 3,000 acres, unknown containment. The fire is exhibiting extreme fire behavior as it burns rapidly west of Magnolia. At least 20 homes have been destroyed, with 150 immediately threatened and hundred more in its path. The fire is actively moving to the south.
TAMINA ROAD, Montgomery County. 150 acres, unknown containment. Two hundred homes have been evacuated in and near the Woodlands and an additional 400 are within a one-fourth of a mile of the fire.
UNION CHAPEL, Bastrop County. 750 acres, 10 percent contained. Twenty-five homes were destroyed on this fire just west of Bastrop. Aircraft responded immediately after the fire was reported, but were ineffective in the windy conditions.
MOONGLOW, Williamson County. 300 acres, no containment. This fire is burning in Leander where 150 homes were threatened. Thirteen homes are reported lost.
PETERS CHAPEL, Harrison County. 600 acres, unknown containment. The fire is burning actively in pine plantation. Numerous homes have been evacuated. There are no reports of losses.
#552, Upshur County. 200 acres, unknown containment. The fire is burning in timber. Three homes were lost and dozens remain threatened.
#854, Walker County. 200 acres, unknown containment. Thirty homes have been evacuated, five homes were destroyed.
#507, Anderson County. 1,200 acres, unknown containment.
#505 Rusk County. 400 acres, unknown containment.
#504, Anderson County. 800 acres, unknown containment.
Uncontained fires from previous days (more than 100 acres in timber, 300 acres in lighter fuels):
BASTROP COUNTY COMPLEX, Bastrop County. 30,000 acres, no containment. Heavy airtankers and single-engine airtankers assisted on this fire that started in the Lost Pines area just northeast of Bastrop. The fire continues to move rapidly to the south, with some eastward movement. Numerous subdivisions have been evacuated. Reports indicate nearly 600 homes have been destroyed.
PEDERNALES BEND, Travis County. 6,500 acres, 40 percent contained. The fire is burning 4 miles southeast of Spicewood. Sixty-seven homes were destroyed. The fire has jumped the Pedernales River and is burning actively towards the south.
BEAR CREEK (#536), Cass County. 7,000 acres, no containment. The fire is burning in heavy timber and is threatened a gas facility and chicken houses.
STEINER RANCH, Travis County. 125 acres, 40 percent contained. The fire started just north of the Steiner Ranch subdivision. More than 1,000 homes were evacuated. Thirty-five homes were destroyed. A Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid System strike team responded.
HENDERSON #495, Anderson County. 3,700 acres, unknown containment. Three homes were saved.
#491, Limestone County. 3,000 acres, unknown containment. Six homes were saved and one was lost on this fire 20 miles east of Waco.
DELHI, Caldwell County. 8,000 acres, 40 percent contained. Twenty homes were saved and six were lost on this fire east of Lockhart.
BAILEY, Colorado County. 1,500 acres, 50 percent contained. This fast-moving fire threatened 40 homes near Columbus.
MOORE, Smith County. 1,300 acres, 90 percent contained. Ten homes were evacuated and five were lost on this fire burning on the Smith/Gregg County line. Two civilian fatalities were reported.
DIANA (#545), Upshur County. 750 acres, unknown containment. The fire is burning in grass and timber. Twenty homes are threatened.
LUTHERHILL, Fayette County. 2,000 acres, 50 percent contained. The community of Ruttersville was evacuated. Seven homes are reported lost.
BONBIEW RANCH, Van Zandt County. 350 acres, 80 percent contained. Twenty homes were saved southeast of Canton.
CLEMANIS, Upshur County. 500 acres, 90 percent contained. Twenty homes were saved on this timber fire.
#543, Gregg County. 300 acres, unknown containment. The fire is burning in pine and hardwood. Numerous homes were saved, none lost. The fire is burning in hardwood and pine.
#538, Harrison County. 200 acres, contained. One hundred fifty homes were evacuated in a trailer park east of Longview.
#502, Nacogdoches County. 2,900 acres, unknown containment. More than a dozen homes have been evacuated, but none lost.
ARBOR, Houston County. 150 acres, unknown containment. The fire is burning in timber. Up to 15 homes reported lost.
KENNEDY ROAD, Rusk County. 150 acres, unknown containment. Numerous homes threatened, one lost.
PETTYTOWN, Caldwell County. 200 acres, 90 percent contained. Twenty homes were saved east of Lockhart.
OLD MAGNOLIA, Gregg County. 500 acres, unknown containment. Several structures and a gas plant are threatened. Two fuel tanks exploded.
SOUTH SULPHER, Hunt County. 100 acres, 70 percent contained. Five homes were threatened and two were destroyed.
#839, Leon County (Concord Robbins). 600 acres, unknown containment. At least 15 homes are reported lost and more than 300 were evacuated.
101 RANCH, Palo Pinto County. 6,555 acres, 85 percent contained. The fire is burning on the south side of Possum Kingdom Lake near the town of Brad. Thirty-nine homes and nine RVs have been reported destroyed.
A surface ridge of dry high pressure will dominate most of Texas today. A surface trough along the front range of the Rockies near the northern New Mexico Texas border will increase the winds over the panhandle area of Texas. Lows relative humidities of 10 to 20 percent can be expected over all west Texas with low relative humidities of 5 to 10 percent around Fort Stockton and west. The strongest winds will be over the panhandle and around I-35 east. High temperatures will range in the 80s and 90s. Poor overnight recoveries are expected for areas away from the coast. Drier conditions expected today as high pressure moves over North Texas. Lighter winds will be the case for the East Branch. Sunny skies with relative humidity values falling to 16 to 21 percent west and 25 to 32 percent east. Highs will be in the mid-80s to lower 90s across the region with the warmer temperatures west of Interstate 45. North to northeast winds around 10 mph gusting to 15-20 and near 15 mph with gusts 20-25 in the south. Poor to moderate overnight recoveries are expected.