Wildfire destroys at least 300 homes in Texas

A HUGE wildfire fanned by dry winds believed to be spawned by Tropical Depression Lee has damaged or destroyed at least 300 homes in central Texas, officials said today.

“It’s catastrophic. It’s a major natural disaster,” Mark Stanford, fire chief of the Texas Forest Service, told The Austin American-Statesman newspaper.

Firefighters battled flames across the region, including one that has burned through nearly 200 acres in Pflugerville and parts of Bastrop County. Another 10 homes are currently in the path of the blaze, the newspaper said.

“There is no arson, no suspicion of arson, and the source is still unknown,” Pflugerville spokeswoman Terri Waggoner said.

Mandatory evacuation orders have been issued in much of the affected area, The American-Statesman said.

Central Texas has been suffering from a severe drought for much of this summer.

Lee came ashore as a tropical storm in southern Louisiana early Sunday, packing sustained winds of about 75km/h and threatening tornadoes to a huge area of the southern United States.

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