Central Texas has been without any significant rainfall for more than a year, and the drought is starting to take its toll. Wildfires in the region have recently consumed almost 600 homes, CBS News reports, and with high winds and low humidity, there may be no relief in the immediate future.
Firefighters from all over the state are battling the enormous blaze, but officials say they are seeing very little luck in containing it given the harsh conditions. Still, some are hopeful that the high winds caused by Tropical Storm Lee will soon abate, giving them an opportunity to fight back against the flames.
"We've been in a defensive mode for a couple of days now, and really all you can do is get people out of the way, protect homes where you can, and make sure our firefighters are safe," Tom Boggus, director of the Texas Forest Service, told CBSl. "But today, the winds have died down so we can probably be much more aggressive, and we hopefully can get some containment on all these fires in the Austin area."
Though this most recent wildfire is considered by many to be the worst in Texas history, it is certainly not the only one that has plagued the state this year. Since December 2010, fires across the state have burned 3.6 million acres, roughly the size of Connecticut.
Reuters reports that at least two people were killed by the blaze over the weekend, and Governor Rick Perry had to cut his presidential campaign schedule short to return to his home state to address the growing emergency.