Washington – Nearly 500 homes have been destroyed near Austin, Texas, by the largest of the more than 50 wildfires raging across the state, authorities announced Tuesday.
The Texas Forest Service said that there has been some abatement in the winds that have been feeding the biggest blaze, which has destroyed some 10,100 hectares (25,000 acres) in Bastrop County, a situation that could help firefighters in their work.
That fire destroyed 476 houses, more than all the other fires that have occurred so far this year in Texas, according to the state Forest Service.
Gov. Rick Perry, who interrupted his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination and returned to Texas to coordinate the fight against the fire, on Tuesday will begin requesting aid from the federal government for the state.
Near Houston, a fire that has already burned 20 homes and destroyed 650 hectares (1,600 acres) on Monday night threatened some residential neighborhoods in Montgomery and Grimes counties.
Lt. Dan Norris, spokesman for the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office, told the Houston Chronicle that a firefighter was injured and a cistern truck was destroyed in the fires near Magnolia.
Another fire, also near Magnolia, was able to be contained Monday night, Norris added.
Ralph Cullom, a spokesman with the Texas Forest Service, said that a fire that broke out on Sunday night near Nacogdoches had burned some 140 hectares (300 acres) as of Monday and had forced the evacuation of about 60 families.
There have been no reports of injuries in the fires in Bastrop, but two people died in a fire in North Texas.
That fire advanced so quickly near the town of Gladewater, east of Dallas, that it reached a mobile home before a young woman and her 18-month-old son could escape. Both of them perished, police said.