Firefighting crews started Wednesday to gain control of a wind-stoked blaze that has raged unchecked across parched Central Texas for days, leaving hundreds of charred properties in its wake and causing thousands of people to flee As the crisis unfolded, Gov. Rick Perry was faced with the decision to leave the state and participate in a GOP presidential debate or stay home and command operations to fight the disaster.
At least two people have died in the wildfire, which destroyed nearly 800 homes and blackened about 45 square miles in and around the city of Bastrop, near Austin.
The Texas Forest Service said Wednesday that blaze had consumed 785 homes, making it the most catastrophic of the fires that have erupted in the past week across Texas. One of the most devastating wildfire outbreaks in state history has caused four deaths and pulled the state’s firefighting ranks to the limit..