Blaze at La Nucia bring in army support

Officials in dry, windy Texas warn of more fires

25 January 2009

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USA — Officials warned of a continuing fire threat created by high wind and dry weather Saturday across Texas, where wildfires had destroyed six houses, killed a man and blackened more than 4,500 acres of grassland.

Nick Harrison, a spokesman for the Texas Forest Service, said the low humidity and extremely high wind were creating hazardous conditions in south-central Texas and the Hill Country. Wind up to 25 mph was forecast Saturday.

“We’re critically dry across the state,” he said.

A blaze that charred 1,000 acres in Montague County just south of the Oklahoma-Texas state line was “in cleanup stages” Saturday, a sheriff’s department spokeswoman said.

No structures were threatened by that fire on Friday and no evacuations were ordered, said Wendy Davis of the Montague County Sheriff’s Department. No injuries were reported.

Two other fires Friday charred more than 3,500 acres of grass in West Texas, burning homes, five hunting cabins, 22 outbuildings and 10 vehicles.

One of them, a 2,500-acre fire that destroyed six homes in Jones County, about 25 miles northwest of Abilene, was no longer active Saturday, Harrison said.

However, firefighters had made little progress containing the second fire, which had covered more than 1,000 acres and destroyed two outbuildings near Albany, Harrison said.

Abilene is about 175 miles west of Dallas, while Albany is about 150 miles west.

In central Texas, a 53-year-old man died Friday in a small grass fire near several homeless camps on the outskirts of Austin. The victim suffered third-degree burns over 90 percent of his body.

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