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Homes burn in Texas grassfire

From Sara Pratley, CNN
  • The 30-acre blaze forces families to flee from nearly 190 residences
  • Texas is in its driest 10-month period ever, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor

(CNN) -- A grassfire in bone-dry central Texas was 50% contained early Tuesday after consuming 15 homes, the state forest service said.

The 30-acre blaze, dubbed the Horseshoe Fire, forced families to flee nearly 190 residences in Leander, Texas, as air tankers, a helicopter and a fire team with bulldozers and trucks battled the drought-fueled blaze.

The fire was first reported Monday afternoon. Most of the evacuation orders was lifted that evening, said Lexi Mawell of the forest service.

Units from the Texas Forest Service and from 14 fire departments battled the flames in the community about 35 miles northwest of the capital, Austin, said Rich Reuse with the forest service.

Texas is in the midst of an "unprecedented drought," according to the U.S. Drought Monitor at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.

"Climate data show that the Lone Star State is in its driest ten-month period ever on record, in over a century of data. This is unprecedented territory," the agency said on its website.

CNN's Ed Payne contributed to this report.