At least 21 homes destroyed by wildfires in Texas | national news


By TERRY WALLACE – Associated Press

On Wednesday, two two-day-old North Texas wildfires continued to resist containment after destroying 21 homes, officials said.

The Chalk Mountain Fire near Glen Rose, Texas destroyed 16 homes and damaged five others as it remained in motion Wednesday after burning nearly 10 square miles (26 square kilometers) of short grass, of brush and junipers beginning at noon Wednesday, said Alexandra Schwier, spokeswoman for the Texas A&M Forest Service. The blaze about 50 miles (80 kilometers) southwest of Fort Worth was 10% contained Wednesday with embers from burning treetops flying up to 200 yards (183 meters).

The Possum Kingdom Lake Fire destroyed five homes as it spread along its western shore, charring 500 acres (200 hectares) about 113 kilometers west of Fort Worth. That fire was 15% contained Wednesday, the Forest Service said.

Temperatures approaching 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43 degrees Celsius), combined with relative humidity close to 20% and winds of 10 mph (16 km/h) gusting to 20 mph (32 kph), withstood the efforts aimed at containing fire spread beyond 10 percent containment, the Forest Service said.

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“In these combustibles, resistance to control is often high and makes suppression efforts difficult for firefighters,” Forest Service fire analyst Luke Kanclerz said in a statement.

Ninety firefighters worked around the clock on the Chalk Mountain Fire, focusing on protecting structures and digging a containment line around the northeast leading edge of the blaze. A no-fly zone was declared for the area as air tankers operated overhead. Fire retardant airdrops began Wednesday morning with a special DC-10 called Very Large Air Tanker and a C-130 and MD-87 transport plane called Large Air Tankers dropping 60,000 gallons of retardant near this leading edge mid-afternoon, Schwier said.

The fire spread to Hood County from neighboring Somervell County, where County Judge Danny Chambers said all 16 destroyed homes and five damaged homes were located. Chambers had issued a disaster declaration due to the possibility of evacuations and said most residents of the county’s northwest rural quadrant had heeded a voluntary evacuation notice issued for the northwest rural quadrant. County.

No injuries were reported in this fire.

Crews were also fighting the Possum Kingdom Lake Fire around the clock by air and on the ground. Fire crews used bulldozers to dig containment lines around the leading edge of the fire, the Forest Service said. Two crew members were treated for minor heat injuries and returned to service.

The Forest Service said 99% of the state was experiencing some level of drought Wednesday.

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