The Latest: Almost 3 dozen homes burned in Texas wildfire

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Posted: Oct 15, 2015 9:27 PM
The Latest: Almost 3 dozen homes burned in Texas wildfire

SMITHVILLE, Texas (AP) — The latest on a wildfire in Central Texas (all times local):

8:30 p.m.

Officials believe that almost three dozen homes have been lost to a Central Texas wildfire that has scorched 6 square miles.

Bastrop County Judge Paul Pape (PAH'-pee) said Thursday night that 34 structures that crews believe to have been homes have been reduced to cinders by the fire. The figure doesn't include barns and other exterior structures that have been burned.

No injuries have been reported from the fire.

A wildfire in the same county in 2011 destroyed at least 1,500 homes and left two people dead.

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6:10 p.m.

At least 25 homes have burned as firefighters from across Texas struggle to stop a Central Texas wildfire that has scorched 6 square miles.

Speaking at a Thursday afternoon community meeting in Smithville, Bastrop County Judge Paul Pape (PAH'-pee) said milder temperatures and diminished winds have helped in the firefight. But there's still no rain in the forecast for the county.

Bastrop County Emergency Management Coordinator Mike Fisher said 25 percent of the fire has been contained.

The burned homes were on a list posted by county officials of more than three dozen structures that have fallen to the flames. Even so, some of the 50 residents at the meeting said they believed their homes had burned but couldn't find them listed.

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5:30 p.m.

Texas forestry officials are bringing in a heavy bomber to fight a raging Central Texas wildfire.

The Texas A&M Forest Service says it's called in a DC-10 air tanker to help battle the wildfire raging through Bastrop County.

In a statement Thursday, the forest service says the tanker can drop close to 12,000 gallons of retardant at a time over a swath three-fourths of a mile long and 500 feet wide. It is also able to divide its load into five separate drops.

The Very Large Air Tanker is expected to arrive from the West Coast and be available Friday morning. The forestry service says it plans to use the plane strategically to protect structures, homes and to stop any further advance of the wildfire.

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1:10 p.m.

Cooler temperatures are coming to help Texas battle wildfires that have destroyed 6 square miles but forecasters say the parched region won't see rain soon.

National Weather Service meteorologist Cory Van Pelt says temperatures of 93 degrees around Austin on Thursday will flirt with record highs for this time of year. Less than 2 inches of rain has fallen since July in Bastrop County, where officials say wildfires that have threatened more than 150 homes could spread further.

At least nine homes have been destroyed. No deaths or injuries have been reported.

Van Pelt says a weak front will enter the area Friday and drop temperatures into the 80s. But he says humidity will remain low and continue to sap already bone-dry grass and trees of moisture.

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11:45 a.m.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says one of the challenges in fighting a wildfire that has burned in Central Texas since Tuesday is shifting winds that have pushed it in different directions.

Abbott on Thursday declared a state of disaster for Bastrop County, where more than 6 square miles have burned and at least nine homes are destroyed.

The Texas A&M Forest Service estimated Wednesday that the fire was about 50 percent contained. It was about 15 percent contained Thursday morning and more than 150 homes remain at risk.

A wildfire in the same county in 2011 destroyed at least 1,500 homes and left two people dead.

Abbott says he's grieving for the people displaced by this latest wildfire, "an echo of a nightmare that they faced just a few years ago."