Texas is hit by record TWENTY FOUR wildfires that have burned through 7,700 acres and destroyed multiple homes amid record 110F heatwave and winds that have fanned flames
- Two dozen wildfires swept across Texas this week, destroying homes and 7,700 acres
- At least two dozen homes have been destroyed in the Chalk Mountain and Possum Kingdom Lake fires
- Most of Texas is suffering from drought conditions as temperatures remain in the triple digits
- High winds and dry brush create the perfect conditions for the blazes to spread
Triple-digit temperatures, high winds and bone-dry vegetation make the perfect ingredients for destructive wildfires, a record 24 of which continue to sweep across Texas, claiming at least dozens of homes and damaging many more.
The two dozen fires have destroyed 7,774 acres of land from central to East Texas and as far south as Walnut Creek, which is about 100 miles north of San Antonio.
With excessive heat warnings expected in the next 10 days and little rain forecast, the flames are expected to claim more property as they draw closer to urban areas.
No deaths, and only minor injuries, have been reported.
Property belonging to Bruce Purcell and Beth Key was destroyed this week by the Chalk Mountain wildfire
Governor Greg Abbott told Texans to be vigilant of wildfires during the summer heatwave, where temperatures have reached 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
‘The State of Texas remains steadfast in our ongoing coordinated response to help Texans and communities affected by or at risk of wildfires,’ Abbott said. ‘As we continue to deploy all available resources in response to widespread fire and drought conditions, Texans are encouraged to remain vigilant and weather-aware to protect themselves and their loved ones from dangerous wildfires.’
Last week, Abbott renewed disaster area declarations for the 72 counties affected by the fires. A drought disaster declaration was renewed for 189 counties in the state.
A DC-10 and two MD-80s dropped 60,000 gallons of flame retardant on the Chalk Mountain fire
Residents who live near the wildfire on Chalk Mountain were evacuated to a FEMA shelter set up in the Somervell County Expo Center, which has stables for livestock
More than 115 firefighters were deployed to battle the various blazes, which destroyed 7,700 acres
The largest blaze, the Chalk Mountain fire, which started on Monday near Glen Rose, Texas (pop. 2,653), has reduced 10 square miles of brush, grass and juniper to cinders, according to the Texas A&M Forest Service, and is only 10 percent contained.
Red hot embers from burning tree crowns could be seen floating 200 yards in the air, widening the path of the dangerous blaze.
Brandon Purcell and Beth Key quickly gathered family photos, clothing and insulin for her son and evacuated to the Somervell County Expo Center, where the Federal Emergency Management Administration set up cots for displace homeowners and stables to shelter livestock.
Beth Key, left, and Brandon Purcell, right, quickly gathered family photos, clothing and insulin for her son and evacuated to the Somervell County Expo Center
A Texas A&M Forest Service map shows the active fires marked with red dots littered around the state
‘My parents lost their house everything; my uncle lost his house, another aunt lost everything and another aunt still battling out there trying to keep her house. Just in my family — one, two, three, four gone,’ Key told WFAA News.
Sixteen homes were destroyed and five others were damaged, fire service spokeswoman Alexandra Schwier said.
The governor said that the Texas Department of Emergency Management is coordinating with the Texas A&M Forest Service to bring the flames under control.
Record temperatures, dry brush and high winds created perfect conditions for wildfires
Beth Key, of Somervell County said that she took clothing, family photos and insulin for her son before fleeing her family farm
No deaths have been reported but at least two dozen homes have been destroyed by the fires on Chalk Mountain and Possum Kingdom Lake
He said that 115 firefighters from 30 engines and four water tenders are battling the various blazes.
In addition to the high temperatures, there have been 10 to 20 mph winds and a relative humidity hovering around an arid 20 percent, making fighting the fires more difficult, the Forest Service said.
‘In these fuels, resistance to control is often high and makes suppression efforts challenging for firefighters,’ Luke Kanclerz, a Forest Service fire analyst, said.
In Chalk Mountain, 90 firefighters worked around the clock, digging a containment line around the fire’s northeast edge.
A DC-10 with a large water tank and two MD-80s dropped 60,000 gallons of flame retardant on the leading edge of the blaze, Schwier told the Associated Press.
Somervell County Judge Danny Chambers has issued a disaster declaration because of the possibility of evacuations. A voluntary evacuation notice was issued for the county’s rural northwestern quadrant, and a no-fly zone has been declared for the entire fire area.
The governor said that 99% of the state was experiencing drought conditions.
The 1148 fire near Possum Kingdom Lake, about 70 miles west of Fort Worth, destroyed 500 acres, taking at least 12 homes with it, fire officials said.
The Forest Service used bulldozers to dig containment lines around the fire’s leading edge. Two crew members were treated for minor heat injuries and returned to service.
There was good news regarding the King Creek fire in Kaufman County, which was 85 percent contained on Wednesday. It destroyed 452 acres.
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