[Updated, 8:55 p.m. ET] The number of homes destroyed by a fast-moving wildfire in Bastrop County, Texas, southeast of Austin, has risen to 476, according to Bastrop County Judge Ronnie McDonald.
Satellite images Monday showed the fire stretching over about 25,000 acres, jumping the Colorado River and a highway, the Texas Forest Service said.
About 5,000 people have been evacuated from their homes, and more evacuations are likely as the fire spreads, officials said. Hundreds of people are in shelters as dangerous flames keep them from finding out whether their homes survived.
Texas is battling its worst fire season in state history. A record 3.5 million acres - an area roughly the size of Connecticut, according to Texas Gov. Rick Perry - have burned since the start of the season in November as hot and dry weather, coupled with a historic drought, made conditions ripe for rapid fire growth.
[Initial post, 11:41 a.m. ET] An unchecked wildfire southeast of Austin, Texas, destroyed 300 homes, scorched thousands of acres and stretched across a 16-mile area Monday morning, authorities said.
Another blaze in eastern Texas killed a mother and her 18-month-old child when flames engulfed their mobile home Sunday near Gladewater, the Gregg County Sheriff's Department said.
The fires were among more than 35 across the state, the Texas Forest Service said Monday. Officials said low relative humidity and strong winds from Lee, which made landfall as a tropical storm but has weakened to a tropical depression, fanned the flames.FULL STORY