Grass fires burn hundreds of acres, destroy homes in Tarrant, Johnson, Hunt counties

Grass fires burn hundreds of acres, destroy homes in Tarrant, Johnson, Hunt counties

18 August 2011

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USA — Grass fires burned hundreds of acres in Tarrant, Johnson and Hunt counties on Thursday evening, forcing evacuations and destroying several homes.

There were no reports of injuries in any of the blazes, officials said.

Hunt County Sheriff Randy Meeks said grass fires in the northern and eastern parts of the county were contained by about 6:30 p.m. At one point, evacuations were ordered in an area north of County Road 1040 near the community of White Rock.

Meeks said there were no reports of homes destroyed, although one barn was destroyed.

“There were fires in several different locations,” Meeks said. “I would say at least 100 acres were involved.

The blazes started about 3:30 p.m., Meeks said, first at different locations in Greenville, and then at sites farther out in the county. He said so many fires starting at the same time is suspicious, but investigations were only in the early stages.

In Johnson County, three homes and a barn were consumed, and two firefighters were treated for heat-related injuries, Lt. Tim Jones, a Sheriff’s Department spokesman, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

The fire started shortly after 3 p.m. along County Road 912 and grew beyond the original 300-acre containment area, forcing evacuations and requiring help from 21 departments.

The fire was contained by about 6 p.m., and residents were allowed back in about 7 p.m., the Star-Telegram reported.

In Tarrant County, Deputy Fire Marshal Keith Ebel said two fires started shortly after 4 p.m. south of Kennedale and were under control by 7:30 p.m. Several homes were reportedly damaged in the blazes.

The cause of the fires is being investigated.

Fire departments throughout northern Tarrant County helped fight the fires, partially because equipment had already been sent to Johnson County to help efforts there.

“We sent a task force to Godley,” Ebel said. The risk of grass fires is aggravated by the drought and hot weather. “It’s a combination of everything.”

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