Texas Crews Make Gains Against Wildfire Near Austin

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Fire crews have started to gain control of a wind-stoked wildfire that has raged unchecked across parched central Texas for days, destroying more than 800 homes.

Nearly 400 firefighters have descended upon the massive blaze in Bastrop County. Although they have made some gains, they haven't been able to put the fire out.

At least two people have died in the wildfire that has also blackened about 45 square miles in and around Bastrop, a city near Austin.

Texas Forest Service spokeswoman April Saginor said the Bastrop fire was 30 percent contained early Wednesday and that the lighter winds were assisting firefighters in their efforts.

"Even though the fuels are critically dry, the grass is dry and the relative humidity is still pretty low, they were able to take advantage of lower winds," Saginor said.

The blaze in Bastrop is the most catastrophic of the more than 170 fires that have erupted in the past week across Texas, marking one of the most devastating wildfire outbreaks in state history.

Statewide, the fires have destroyed more than 1,000 homes, and stretched the state's firefighting ranks to the limit.

The outbreak has made this the state's costliest wildfire season on record, with $216 million in firefighting expenses since late 2010.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said the Obama administration has approved seven federal grants to help Texas with the latest wildfires.

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