'Monster' wildfire destroys nearly 500 homes in Texas
A roaring wildfire raced through rain-starved farm and ranchland in Central Texas, destroying nearly 500 homes during a rapid advance that was fanned in part by howling winds from the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee.
At least 5,000 people were forced from their homes in Bastrop County about 25 miles (40km) east of Austin, and about 400 were in emergency shelters, officials said.
Strong winds and drought conditions allowed the fire to travel quickly over somewhat hilly terrain, burning through pine and cedar trees and wiping out housing subdivisions as well as ranchland.
The blaze consumed as much as 25,000 acres (10,000 hectares) along a line that stretched for about 16 miles (26 km), Texas Forest Service officials said Monday.