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The Texarkana Gazette,Evan Lewis, Associated Press
Nathan Trammell loads the first of the family's two dogs, Tuesday, into his van after the fire department declared a mandatory evacuation because of wildfires in Cass County, Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2011, in Linden, Texas. One of the most devastating wildfire outbreaks in Texas history left more than 1,000 homes in ruins Tuesday and stretched the state's firefighting ranks to the limit, confronting Gov. Rick Perry with a major disaster at home just as the GOP presidential contest heats up.

BASTROP, Texas — One of the most destructive wildfires in Texas history is slowing thanks in part to calming winds.

But stretched-thin firefighting crews are still trying to get a handle on the blaze that has destroyed more than 600 homes, killed two people and forced thousands to evacuate in and around Bastrop, a city near Austin.

Raging with zero containment for days, crews finally got a reprieve from strong winds Tuesday. Texas Forest Service spokesman John Nichols says increased overnight humidity should help firefighters report some containment Wednesday.

The blaze is the most severe of the more than 180 wildfires reported in the past week across drought-stricken Texas. The fires have destroyed more than 1,000 homes and caused four deaths, marking one of the most devastating wildfire outbreaks in state history.