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