Wildfires still devastating much of Texas

Wildfires still devastating much of Texas

06 April 2011

published by www.star-telegram.com

USA — High temperatures, high wind, low humidity and drought have fueled wildfires in the state at a torrid pace in recent weeks.

This year, the Texas Forest Service has responded to 605 wildfires that have burned 279,279 acres. More than 160 structures have been destroyed, and firefighters have saved almost 3,000, the agency said. A number of those fires were in North Texas on March 11, including a 7,000-acre fire in Jack County that destroyed six houses.

This time last year, the forest service had responded to 149 fires that had burned 5,221 acres and destroyed 17 structures. Firefighters had saved 186 structures.

Officials say the situation could get worse, with almost half the state under warnings of extreme or very high fire danger.

Most of North Texas is in moderate fire danger, but counties to the west are under high danger.

In the seven days that ended Tuesday, firefighters using bulldozers, helicopters and planes had responded to 76 fires that burned 21,561 acres, the forest service said.

One of the largest in the state was almost contained as of late Wednesday. Wildfires scorched almost 3,000 acres on the Camp Bowie Military Reservation south of Brownwood. The Texas Army National Guard was assisting with helicopters and bulldozers.

The worst year for wildfires was 2006, when 2,572 fires burned 1.46 million acres, according to the forest service. Fires destroyed 236 structures, and firefighters saved 6,498.

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