- (Photo: REUTERS/Mike Stone)
As wildfires in Central Texas continue to engulf homes, two bodies were found among the ruins in Bastrop County. Now authorities are looking for four teenagers suspected of starting a fire Monday night that reportedly caused $1.4 million in damage.
Two teenage girls and two teenage boys were seen running through a wooded area when the fire started. Police said one of the female suspects has black hair that may have been dyed and was wearing a pink shirt and blue jeans. The other female was dressed in a white T-shirt and jeans and has dirty blond hair.
Both boys had dark, shaggy hair and were wearing jeans. All four suspects are white, police said. The city offered up to $2,000 to anyone with information regarding the arsonists’ whereabouts.
Reports said the fire consumed 11 homes and damaged at least seven homes around Leander. Firefighters were able to contain roughly 75 percent of the fire by late Tuesday, but not before over 500 people were told to evacuate their homes.
Lighter winds and increased humidity helped firefighters contain 30 percent of the wildfire in Bastrop County by Wednesday morning. The fire has been described as the most devastating wildfire in state history. The wildfire destroyed more than 1,000 homes, burned 33,089 acres of farmland and forest and emptied 20 neighborhoods, Texas Forest Service spokeswoman Victoria Koeing said.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry deployed an elite search team to look for victims. The 100-member Texas Task Force 1 includes a dozen search dogs and was sent to New York after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and to New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.
The Obama administration has approved seven federal grants to help Texas, White House spokesman Jay Carney said.
“We’re getting incredible support from all over the country, federal and state agencies,” said Mark Stanford, operations director for the Texas Forest Service.
Texas is experiencing the worst fire season in state history as extreme drought conditions continue to plague the state. Already more than 3.5 million acres have burned since the beginning of the wildfire season last November and Texas Gov. Rick Perry has reissued his disaster proclamation nine times.