Nearly 500 houses have been destroyed in Central Texas as firefighters continue to struggle with the wind-fueled wildfire that has forced the evacuation of thousands of Texas residents from their homes and has been blamed for at least two deaths. As of this morning, the director of the Texas Forest Service tells CBS News "there's no containment right now" and that "no one on the face of this Earth has ever fought fires in these extreme conditions." Central Texas has been bereft of any major rainfall for a year and forecasters don't indicate any relief in the immediate future. Since December, fires have devoured 3.5 million acres of the Lone Star State. "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," Texas Forest Service Director Tom Boggus tells CBS. Shelters have been set up around the affected areas which include Bastrop County, about 25 miles east of Austin. At least 5,000 people have been evacuated from their homes. On Monday, Texas Governor and GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry cut short a campaign event in South Carolina to return to his state. "I'll be real honest with you I'm not paying any attention to politics right now," he said. "There's plenty of time to take care of that. People's lives and their possessions are in danger. That's substantially more important." Reporting from Bastrop County this morning, NBC affiliate KXAN news has coverage from the fires:
Associated Press photographers also captured images of the fire raging yesterday:
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