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Caution Urged to Avoid Texas Wildfire Outbreak

Thursday, Aug 22, 2013  |  Updated 1:54 PM CDT
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This photo provided by Texas Parks and Wildlife shows a fire burning in Bastrop State Park in Bastrop, Texas, in 2011.

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Texas forestry officials have urged caution during Labor Day outings to avoid starting wildfires like a disastrous blaze two years ago blamed on strong winds.

Texas A&M Forest Service records show 126 of the state's 254 counties had burn bans in effect Thursday. Officials said the holiday weekend is the peak of summer fire activity when everything is at its driest due to the heat. 

A 2011 Labor Day weekend fire in Bastrop County, about 30 miles east of Austin, burned for more than a month and scorched at least 32,000 acres. Forest Service officials said nearly 1,700 homes were destroyed. Two people died. 

Investigators said the fire was started when wind gusts of more than 30 mph knocked down trees that crashed into overhead power lines -- causing sparks.

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