Business, Finance & Economics

Bastrop county burns as Rick Perry calls for more federal aid (VIDEO)

Texas wildfires have reportedly destroyed 25,000 acres in Bastrop County and 476 homes — more houses than any single wildfire in Texas and more than all other fires this year combined, according to the Texas Forest Service.

Gov. Rick Perry left the campaign trail Monday in South Carolina to organize requests for more federal aid, with more than 60 new wildfires raging across the state, the Houston Chronicle reports.

He said officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency were expected to arrive in Texas as soon as Wednesday, the LA Times reports.

"I don't think we've ever seen a wildfire season like this" since the 1980s, Perry said after surveying the Bastrop fire by helicopter. "We've got a long way to go to get this thing contained."

Fire has destroyed nearly 500 homes across drought-stricken Central and East Texas, where at least 63 blazes are reportedly burning out of control. 

A mother and her 18-month-old child were killed when flames engulfed their east Texas trailer as firefighters are struggling to contain the 16-mile-wide blaze southeast of Austin that has razed more than 14,000 acres and has reportedly jumped the Colorado River twice. NPR reports:

"When it first started we were out there, we got overran, we had to get out. We had to evacuate and it just burned everything in its path. Forest, houses, everything, cars, anything that was there was burned," says Carolyn Laird, who is a firefighter — along with her daughter Devan — for the Bastrop Fire Department.

The worst of the wildfires that make up the blaze is in Bastrop County, NPR reports.

Black Hawk helicopters trying to douse the fire, which Texas Forest Service spokeswoman Jan Amen called "a monster," adding that it was "zero percent contained," Time reports.

Rick Perry, who canceled his Labor Day appearance in Columbia, S.C. on Tuesday and events in California on Wednesday, was quoted by ABC News as saying: "Our state has got wildfires that are running quite wild at zero containment right now and the winds are supposed to pick up again."

Elsewhere, Tropical Storm Lee — which made landfall Sunday — had turned into Tropical Depression Lee by Monday and was moving up the East Coast after drenching parts of the deep South and leaving thousands without power, ABC reports.

And Hurricane Katia was moving across the Atlantic Ocean.