The signs continue…
While parts of the country were dealing with snow storms and tornadoes last week, Texas was in the midst of a drought. Which has now lead to wildfires. One of which authorities are saying isn’t a threat to Ft. Worth… which really means it is.
The fire started Friday near Possum Kingdom Lake, 70 miles west of Fort Worth, and linked up with several smaller blazes. By Tuesday, it had burned nearly 150,000 acres, destroyed about 150 homes and a church in several communities and forced hundreds of residents to flee the area, Texas Forest Service spokesman Marq Webb said. White ash was falling from the sky Tuesday in several towns.
Webb said crews would be able to use firefighting tactics to keep the blaze from Fort Worth, one of Texas’ largest cities with nearly 750,000 residents.
“It’s still a long way out there. God help us if it goes that far,” Webb told The Associated Press. “Stranger things have happened, but we’re not even thinking that at this point.”
But the statewide drought, hot temperatures and gusting winds have made for ideal conditions that have allowed wildfires to ignite and spread quickly across much of the state. Wildfires have burned more than 1 million acres in Texas in the past week alone, including several massive blazes in West Texas that firefighters continued battling Tuesday.
Authorities ordered the 400 residents of Palo Pinto, about 50 miles west of Fort Worth, to leave the city on Tuesday evening because of the advancing flames, said Trooper Gary Rozzell of the Texas Department of Public Safety. The county’s jail inmates also were evacuated, and several roads in the area were closed.
But in other towns closer to Fort Worth, residents didn’t seem worried that the blaze could reach them.
“We don’t have the underbrush here, and there are many communities and other developed areas before the fire would get to Fort Worth or Dallas,” said Jimmy Peters, who lives in Willow Park, about 30 miles west of Fort Worth.
Famous last words. It’s not all Mother Nature’s doing though…
Several of the state’s largest cities have been on the alert since a weekend wildfire in Austin destroyed 10 homes after starting on the outskirts of town.
Authorities say that fire started when a homeless man left his campfire untended and the wind blew an ember into the tinder-dry vegetation that can be found throughout the state. The fire spread quickly and forced the evacuation of about 200 homes before crews were able to contain it.
Got to be more careful.