Wildfires continue to rage in Texas, and by Tuesday the estimated 85 fires had destroyed more than 7,500 acres and more than 1,000 homes.

The fires gained momentum from relentless weather conditions, especially the region’s ongoing drought and high winds brought on by Tropical Storm Lee. So far, more than 5,000 people have been evacuated from their homes in the most at-risk areas.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who canceled campaign plans Monday to return to deal with the disaster, said he hoped Tuesday’s forecast for lower temperatures and slowing winds would give firefighters a chance to contain the fires. Perry will continue with his campaign on Wednesday. A spokesman said the candidate on Wednesday evening would make his first appearance in a GOP presidential debate, part of a series. –BF

The Los Angeles Times:

The wildfires are particularly serious in Bastrop County, east of Austin, where more than 5,000 residents were evacuated. At least 476 homes were destroyed there, the highest number of homes ever lost in a single fire in Texas history.

In the town of Bastrop itself, helicopters and planes loaded with water could be seen overhead as firefighters converged around homes catching fire along a state highway outside the city.

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