Grass fires break out in wide area of Texas
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
No injuries or deaths have been reported. Residential areas in, , , , , and counties were evacuated as firefighters struggled to put out the flames. Fires were also reported in , , and counties. Many of these fires have now been contained, officials say.
In response to the fires, Texas governor Rick Perry activated the state's Emergency Operations Center at the highest level. In addition, 152 counties instituted burn bans.
Military aircraft were sent to the area to help douse the fires. According to officials, two Austin and as well.helicopters are on standby in , waiting for the winds to slow down before taking to the skies with buckets of water. Six helicopters are on standby in
Sharolyn Holder, a North Texas resident, said, "My house is sitting back there with fire all around it. My son's house has already burned some. It's just so stressful."
Craig Civale ofsaid that a lack of water contributed to the spread of the fires. "We've seen areas where fire trucks simply ran out of water, tanker trucks ran out of water, and had to stop battling the blazes at these homes; and pretty much watch them burn down until more water came to the area," he said.
Officials in Tarrant County believe that a fire inmay have been started by a cigarette thrown onto an interstate highway.
Parts ofand were closed due to the fires.
The heavy winds had other adverse effects for Texas residents. Around 75,000 homes in the area were reported to be without power in the afternoon due to the wind knocking down several power lines.
Some flights atwere delayed more than half an hour or cancelled after the wind forced officials to limit use of the runways.
- "North Texas fires lead to evacuations" — , January 29, 2008
- Angela K. Brown, Associated Press. "Crews fight Texas wildfires as residents flee" — , January 29, 2008
- "Fire, high winds create messy commute in Dallas-Fort Worth" — , January 29, 2008