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Wildfires have burned more than 3 million acres in Texas since the fire season started - more than in any other year since the state Forest Service began keeping records a quarter-century ago.
The scorched earth covers more than twice the total land acreage in Delaware, or almost 2 percent of the land in the Lone Star State's famously wide-open spaces. The total is 50 percent higher than the 1.98 million acres burned in the deadly fire season of 2006.
And that's not all: Officials have reported 12,362 fires to the Forest Service this season, which officially began Nov. 15, said agency spokeswoman April Saginor. Texas' annual budget for fighting wildfires is $15.5 million. As of Sunday, the state had spent $126.7 million, Saginor said.
Saginor said the Forest Service will remain stationed around the state to respond to fires quickly until vegetation and the ground gather enough moisture to slow wildfires.
That appears unlikely to happen soon, said Krissy Scotten, a weather service meteorologist.
"For the next two weeks it doesn't look promising for any rain at all," Scotten said. "If we don't get anything now and we go into September with less than 2 inches, it's going to be bad."
What the fires haven't destroyed, the drought will
Water levels are dropping rapidly in the Highland Lakes. The Llano and Perdenales rivers have essentially dried up. That means hardly any water is going into the Highland Lakes right now. A severe lack of rain and blistering heat has Lake Travis slowly evaporating away.
Video taken by the LCRA shows the Sometimes Islands are clearly visible as the lake continues to go down. Monday it was at 647.4 feet, just 55 percent full. Lake Buchanan is 64 percent full.
There are only two public boat ramps still open, and Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) officials are not sure how long that will last during our projected long hot summer.
Video from the LCRA shows structures and pilings from construction in the 1930s clearly visible just underneath the water's surface. Large rocks are also peeking through the now more shallow water.