300 Homes Go Up in Texas Fire
Mom, child killed in separate blaze in tinderbox state
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Sep 5, 2011 1:28 AM CDT
Volunteer firefighter battle a wildfire. Some 3.5 million acres have been destroyed in Texas this season so far.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – A mother and child have been killed in a blaze near Dallas, while another "catastrophic" Texas wildfire has destroyed 300 homes and sent thousands of residents near Austin fleeing for their lives. The 16-mile-long Austin fire has burned through 14,000 acres and is now threatening an additional 700 houses, reports the American-Statesman. Firefighters were battling a dozen brush and grass blazes throughout eastern and central Texas yesterday as dry conditions and winds whipped up by Tropical Storm Lee turn the state into a tinderbox. Two of the fires were started when flames jumped from barbeque pits, and one ignited as a teen burned love letters outdoors, said officials.

"We're a little on edge," a Texas Forest Service spokesman told Reuters. "We have several fires that we thought we had put out, but these winds came up and started them up again." A total of 3.5 million acres have been burned in the state so far this season, reports MSNBC. August was the hottest single month ever recorded in Texas.