EVACUATIONS have been ordered in parts of Texas as wildfires burn across the state.
Several wildfires merged to form what fire officials call a “complex” that was burning near Eastland, about 120 miles west of Dallas.
As of Friday morning, the fires had burned about 62.5 square miles (162 square kilometers), according to Texas A&M Forest Service. It was only 2 percent contained and fires were burning in thick brush and grass fields.
About 18,000 people live in Eastland County, where the large fire was burning.
Other smaller fires were burning throughout other areas of Texas, and Thursday’s low humidity and high winds created an ideal scenario for the blazes to quickly grow out of control.
Texas A&M Forest Service had warned of a wildfire outbreak this week because of the forecast.
Read our Texas wildfires live blog for the latest news and updates…
Church burned out
Flames from the wildfires seemed to engulf the Second Baptist Church in Ranger as well as an old police station in the area.
A picture of the gutted church was shared on its Facebook page.
The post read: “Satan has hit us hard but we are still standing. I’m bring(ing) a lawn chair Sunday and going to serve GOD anyway.”
“Who’s with me? Remember the the (sic) people are the church. And not the building.”
Additional resources activated
As part of a direction to activate additional resources to deal with the “escalated fire weather conditions” in Texas, Governor Abbott requested the following resources be activated on March 16:
- Texas A&M Forest Service (TAMFS): Four firefighting strike teams from the Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid System (TIFMAS), including 100 firefighters and 20 fire engines
- Texas Military Department (TMD): Six helicopters with firefighting capability
- Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD): Two firefighting brush trucks
- Texas Emergency Medical Task Force (TX EMTF): Two paramedic/advanced life-support Wildland Fire Support Packages
As of Friday morning, Texas A&M Forest Service reported, “The #EastlandComplex in Eastland County is an estimated 39,883 acres and 2% contained.”
Agencies ordered to report
On March 16, as part of a direction to activate additional resources to deal with the “escalated fire weather conditions” in Texas, Governor Abbott requested personnel from several state agencies report to the Texas State Emergency Operations Center (SOC).
Those agencies include:
- Texas A&M Forest Service
- Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
- Texas Department of Public Safety
- Texas Department of State Health Services
- Texas Department of Transportation
- Texas Military Department
- Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
- Public Utility Commission of Texas
- Railroad Commission of Texas
‘Escalated fire weather conditions’
Texas Governor Greg Abbott ordered the state’s emergency management division to activate additional resources to fight “escalated fire weather conditions” on March 16.
He urged residents across the state to “remain weather-aware and practice wildfire safety diligently through the rest of the week to keep their communities safe.”
Hundreds of homes evacuated
Hundreds of homes have been evacuated and more than 38,000 acres of land have caught fire in Texas.
Around 475 homes in Gorman, Texas were evacuated as of Thursday night and orders were issued for Brown and Comanche counties as well.
No injuries reported
No injuries have been reported so far due to the fires, Kari Hines, a spokesperson with the Texas A&M Forest Service, told CNN on Friday.
Evacuation orders in place
Evacuation orders were in place across several central Texas counties late Thursday, according to CNN.
The orders for evacuation were in effect for portions of Eastland, Brown, and Comanche counties.
About 18,000 people live in Eastland County, where the large fire continues burning on Friday.
Fire in the sky
Texas A&M Forest Service shared this terrifying photo of flames from the wildfires on Twitter.
‘Complex’ of fires
Several wildfires have merged to form what fire officials call a “complex” in Texas.
How contained are the fires?
The fires are only 2 percent contained and continue to burn in thick brush and grass fields.
Miles of destruction
As of Friday morning, the fires had burned about 62.5 square miles (162 square kilometers), according to Texas A&M Forest Service.
Where are the fires?
The fires are burning near Eastland, about 120 miles west of Dallas.