Strong wind hampers crews battling Texas fires

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

WHEELER, Texas - Strong wind on Sunday hampered fire crews' efforts to control several Texas wildfires that had destroyed eight homes and damaged more than 20 smaller structures.

The largest fire, an 11,000-acre blaze near the Texas-Oklahoma state line, was about 25 percent contained, but wind gusting to 35 mph made it difficult to maintain fire lines, Texas Forest Service spokeswoman Jeanne Eastham said Sunday.

"Anytime you have the wind, it makes it harder to control the fire," Eastham said.

The forest service said the blaze near the town of Wheeler destroyed eight homes and 26 outbuildings.

The town of about 1,300 residents was temporarily evacuated Saturday after the fire jumped the North Fork of the Red River. Residents returned home late in the day.

Another fire, which had blackened about 2,100 acres in Jack County northwest of Fort Worth, also forced temporary evacuations of more than a dozen homes Saturday, but residents there were allowed back by midnight. That fire was about 75 percent contained Sunday.

Fire crews also were battling three other wildfires in northern parts of the state. Two blazes, in Jeff Davis County and Shackelford County, were at least 60 percent contained Sunday, while a smaller fire in Nolan County was five percent contained.

Forest Service officials said 24 firefighters were treated for smoke inhalation Saturday.


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