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Austin wildfire contained; 18 homes damaged

April 18, 2011 12:54:42 AM PDT
Crews across Texas continue on Monday to battle wildfires fueled by high winds and tinder dry conditions. A 100-acre wildfire in Austin has been contained.

The flames had people literally running for their lives on Sunday. At least 18 homes have been damaged or destroyed.

But that number is expected to rise once firefighters survey the area.

Authorities believe a homeless man started the fire by lighting a campfire to cook amid strong winds and tinder-dry conditions that have left firefighters battling a spate of wildfires threatening communities across Texas. Wildfires have spread across more than 700,000 acres - about the size of Rhode Island - in drought-stricken Texas.

In the last week, wildfires have charred more than 1,000 square miles in Texas, prompting Gov. Rick Perry to ask President Barack Obama for federal help.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.