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Texas Tortured By Heat And Fire

It's been a summer of heat and fire in the Lone Star State, which Tuesday chalked up its 67th straight day without rain.

Dallas Tuesday dealt with the added pain of water, water, everywhere and not a drop from the sky - as millions of gallons of water flooded the drought-stricken city when a crew attempting to install a fiber optic line accidentally severed a 30-inch water main.

Temperatures continue to break records all over Texas. The mercury hit 112 degrees in Austin Tuesday, with other record-breaking surges past the 100 degree mark felt in Del Rio, San Antonio, Houston and Lubbock.

So far this year, there have been at least 40 confirmed heat-related deaths in the Dallas and Houston areas.

Most of the Houston area heat victims did not have air conditioning or avoided using it, to save on their energy bills, according to the Harris County Medical Examiner's office.

Lack of air conditioning is also blamed for Dallas' most recent heat death, a 66-year-old diabetic woman found dead in her home Saturday, with the air conditioner turned off.

Some utility companies have been urging customers to cut down on usage during peak hours.

The National Weather Service has issued an "extreme fire danger" warning in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, because of the drought there.

At one children's hospital, officials say they have treated a high number of young patients suffering from asthma made worse by the heat.

And they are not the only children having a rough time. Hot, dry conditions fueled several fires near Houston forcing some evacuations. CBS News Correspondent Terisa Estacio reports that although residents have since returned safely, many parents remain worried and decided against sending their children back to school.

"I am not sending my child to school," said Sonia Zoy. "The fires are just still too close by."

Sixty-one wildfires continue to burn over 8 thousand acres of land in various parts of Texas. A fire west of San Antonio forced the evacuation of about 250 people from their homes Tuesday, while north of Houston, about 100 people were evacuated from the New Caney area, until a 300-acre fire was contained.

One homeowner just couldn't force himself to flee. "I had to stay and help," explained David Whitehead, patrolling his yard with garden hose in hand. "I couldn't leave my house."

Forecasters warn temperatures will remain hot for most of this week, but they anticipate some relief for the coming weekend. That news brings a smile to many here enduring this long summer in Texas.

CBS Worldwide Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report

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