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'Texas is burning from border to border': Million acres scorched after wildfires blaze for a week


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'Texas is burning from border to border': Million acres scorched after wildfires blaze for a week



By Daily Mail Reporter

Last updated at 2:30 PM on 20th April 2011





Firefighters in Texas are still battling vast blazes that have burnt through a million acres after raging for more than a week.


Hundreds of residents have been forced to leave their homes because of the advancing flames and even prisons have been emptied in some towns.


The drought-stricken state is desperately hoping for rain and higher humidity in the coming days to help attempts to douse the flames.


article-1378816-0BB3B89200000578-18_964x595.jpg Wildfires raging in Strawn, Texas. Dozens of homes in the area have been destroyed




article-1378816-0BB33F3700000578-547_964x517.jpg Survivor: A home under construction that just missed the damage from wildfires near Possum Kingdom Lake



Forecasters predict a 20 to 30 per cent chance of rain for today and tomorrow in North Texas but there are fears storms could make the situation even more dire.


Daniel Huckaby, a forecaster at the National Weather Service in Fort Worth, said: 'Some areas will get some rainfall, but unfortunately most will not. And with the chaotic wind that thunderstorms can produce, and the lightening they can produce, that can make matters worse.'


The fires have eaten up a million acres and destroyed at least 170 homes after burning for more than a week and fire crews from 34 states have now joined the effort to bring them under control.


April Saginor, from the Texas Forest Service, told CNN Radio: 'We're actually seeing Texas burn from border to border. We've got it in West Texas, East Texas, in North Texas, in South Texas - it's all over the state.'


'We've got one in the Dallas area that's four fires that have actually merged together.'

She added: 'Some are over 100,000 acres, and they've been burning for over a week, so that's our priority right now, to put out the big ones.'


article-1378816-0BB5621500000578-147_964x468.jpg Lit up: The Texas Forest Service undertook a series of 'controlled burns' at the weekend to get rid of fuel on the mountains around McDonald Observatory, seen right



Texas usually receives up to 15 inches of rain a year but in the last six months it has seen just 13-hundredths of an inch in the west of the state.


Some 11 new blazes broke out yesterday as firefightings continued to battle those that had been raging for days, with huge flames forcing residents to leave at least three towns.


In Graham and Graford, several neighbourhoods were ravaged by the flames and houses near Possum Kingdom Lake were shown to be burnt-out shells.


article-1378816-0BB3147D00000578-588_964x521.jpg Close call: A running wildfire encroaches on a large home in Strawn, Texas. Dozens of area homes have been destroyed in the wildfires



article-1378816-0BB3B89A00000578-763_964x598.jpg Red alert: Emergency crews dropping fire retardant slurry in Texas this week







A deer running from wildfires near Possum Kingdom Lake and (right) the bird's-eye view of the region


Residents were also evacuated from Palo Pinto, which is around 70 miles from Fort Worth, with buses sent to rescue prisoners.


Jackie Fewell and her husband were evacuated from their home near Possum Kingdom Lake and are having to stay in a hotel, which she has turned into an information hub for the fires.


Fires there have raged for almost a week, tearing through several communities and consuming 150,000 acres, destroying 150 homes and a church.



article-1378816-0BB3BF7A00000578-859_964x491.jpg Tough task: Volunteer firefighters battling a blaze in Graford, Texas




article-1378816-0BB3EBE100000578-56_964x476.jpg Advancing: The fires have roared through one million acres of land



Mrs Fewell, who works in a real estate company, said people were desperate for accurate information and that she was receiving up to 100 e-mails an hour.


She and her team have been talking to residents who refuse to evacuate, listening to police scanning equipment and even watching a live feed from a security camera at one of the houses.


The fire in Possum Kingdom Lake started last Friday. Still raging last night, it had spread into two other countries and residents were ordered to leave Palo Pinto.


Prisoners were evacuated from that town, Graford and Strawn south of the lake, several roads were closed and boating access was halted.


White ash was falling from the sky in several nearby towns throughout the day, and National Guard helicopters from Austin and heavy air tankers could be seen dumping water to aid ground efforts.


Mrs Fewell said her blog has kept her from worrying about her home, which she found out on Tuesday was not in the path of the fire.


'We've just pushed it to the back of our heads. It is what it is, and we're all in this together,' she said.



article-1378816-0BB3142500000578-496_964x470.jpg San Diego County firefighter Jason Lambirth surveying the blaze in Strawn




article-1378816-0BB3BF8D00000578-109_964x557.jpg Texas State Troopers Aaron Lewis and Greg Sullivan open a gate to allow livestock to escape in Graford




Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1378816/Texas-burning-border-border-Million-acres-scorched-wildfires-blaze-week.html#ixzz1K4PcNtIX

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