At least 45,000 acres of wildfires in central Texas have killed at least one person, destroyed 50 homes and evacuated nearly 500 people, officials said Friday.
A wildfire west of the Dallas-Fort Worth area known as the Eastland Complex Fire began Thursday evening. Barbara Fenley, a deputy with the Eastland County Sheriff’s Office, died while trying to help people escape, authorities said.
The Texas A&M Forest Service said the fire was 15 percent under control as of Friday evening Said on Twitter. Firefighters were protecting the structures and building fire protection lines, and planes hurled water and fire-retardant chemicals into the area, it said.
Governor Greg Abbott on Friday signed a disaster notice that will allow the state to better assist 11 districts affected by the fire. He said more districts could be added.
He said the fire was “dangerous” due to “ever-changing winds” and dry land. Abbott said.
“One area we are fighting is fire,” he said. “One area we struggle with is the weather and wind.”
The Forest Service It said Friday it was responding to 10 wildfires that have burned more than 52,000 acres across the state, with strong winds and dry grasses being the culprits.
National Weather Service Office in Fort Worth Said Friday evening The fire risk is expected to increase in many countries west of the city over the weekend.
Madison Gordon, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said the first wildfire to hit Texas this year was the Eastland Complex fire.
“This is definitely something to focus on,” he said.
The Eastland Complex fire consisted of four flames that engulfed parts of the Commons and Eastland districts. The largest of them, the Kit fire, burned at least 30,000 acres as of Friday.
Approximately 475 homes were evicted from affected communities, including Gorman; Carbon, a highway closed; And Lake Lyon. Gorman is 100 miles west of Fort Worth. Shelters for the evicted were opened in places including churches and schools.
Residents shared Views Including scenes of fire and damaged homes on social media. The National Weather Service said the smoke from the fire traveled about 300 miles to other parts of the state, including Houston.
The Houston health department told residents, especially those with respiratory problems, to stay indoors Friday.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, smoke from fires can lead to health problems, including burns to the eyes and chronic heart and lung disease.
Vimal Patel And Mike Ives Contributed report.
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