There have been many many fires in the North Texas area because of the very dry, windy conditions. Quite a few homes have been destroyed.
Perhaps a more interesting situation is in the small town of Cross Plains, near Abilene in Callahan County. Over the late afternoon hours, fire spread into town, destroying (at last check around 6:30pm) 12 to 15 homes, the Cross Plains United Methodist Church, the "Highway 36 Motel", and the fire was continuing. It turns out that one of the homes lost to the fire was the home of a friend's parents. I had no idea until I spoke to her online tonight. And the church that was destroyed was the church where her father is the pastor. They now have no church but will hold services come Sunday in the parking lot, so their spirit obviously hasn't been broken.
Many firefighters and much equipment had come to Cross Plains, but water was becoming scarce. There was also a possible natural gas leak they were investigating this evening.
There had been no reported injuries, but all residents of the city had reportedly been evacuated (pop. 1000). Hopefully they'll get it under control soon.
Update: An Abilene TV station says 20-30 homes were destroyed as of about 6pm local time, and one death reported.
Sadly, it appears this drought will continue at least through the first half of January over this area. :(
If anyone would like to donate money, clothes or anything that might be needed to assist with recovery from this localized disaster, here's the contact info:
The Red Cross says that those wishing to donate or volunteer can call 325-677-2622, or mail donations to 1610 N. 2nd. Abilene, TX 79601.
I realize that members here have contributed to so many things this year, with all the disasters that have taken place, but it sounds like this little town can use all the help it can get at the moment, so if you can contribute anything, I'm sure they'd appreciate it.
BTW, I'm sure you mods get lots of these requests, but if you could, do you think this could be tacked up top for a day or two so people can see the contact info? If so, it'd be greatly appreciated.
Is Crowley/Burleson/Joshua near any of that? I noticed a LOT of smoke and haze in the air (Tough to breath) so I am assuming yes.
Just got woke up with a call. Fire season is over up here, but there will be 20+ of Idaho's finest down there tomorrow.
ETA 20 of Idaho's finest, -1, I will be coming too.
Cross Plains sits between Abilene and Stephenville, so it's not too far from the areas you mentioned. However, there were apparently a bunch of other fires, scattered all over the NRN portion of TX.
BTW, thanks for the bump guys. And be careful down there WildlandFirefighter. I'm sure those residents will be very happy to see you coming though. It looked like the local guys were overwhelmed today for sure, there was so much happening.
Charging_Handle:BTT for you.
BTW: I know what is like to be in the middle of a wild fire like that. Living in So. Calif near the base of the San Gabriel Mtns(10 miles east of Los Angeles), I've been through a few of them myself, and they are definitely no fun, even if my house was never in jeopardy.
Things are getting pretty bad for Texas people. The fire is initially attributed to children playing with fireworks. N. Texas is in the greenbelt, but this year they have had so little rain fall that they whole area is tender dry.
Texas, Oklahoma Brace for More Grass Fires
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
CROSS PLAINS, Texas — Fire crews in Texas were monitoring areas hit by grass fires for hot spots Wednesday as a new line of fires was reported in Oklahoma.
More than 60 structures were destroyed in the two states Tuesday by fast-moving grass fires that left at least one person dead and injured several others.
In Kennedale, Texas, one of the hardest hit areas, Mayor Jim Norwood planned to survey the damage as officials hoped for more winter-like conditions.
"The little cooler conditions will help if the winds stay down," Norwood told KRLD Radio early Wednesday.
A church and at least 25 homes were destroyed and flames burned down power poles in Cross Plains, a town of about 1,000 residents 150 miles southwest of Dallas.
"Houses are just burned down that nobody could ever get to," said rancher Dean Dillard, a former city councilman. "Instantly, there were 15 or 20 houses on fire at same time and no way to get around to all of them."
The blaze was one of the grass fires that burned across a drought-stricken, windy and unseasonably hot Texas on Tuesday. Authorities believe they were mainly set by people ignoring fire bans and burning trash, shooting fireworks or tossing cigarettes on the crunchy, brown grass.
Texas Forest Service spokeswoman Traci Weaver called the wildfires the state's worst since February 1996, when 141 structures and 16,000 acres were destroyed around Poolville, about 40 miles northwest of Fort Worth.
Gov. Rick Perry deployed state firefighters, ordered use of Texas Army National Guard assets and requested assistance from the U.S. Forest Service. Firefighters from at least three other states were called in to help.
Perry issued a disaster declaration Tuesday after at least 73 fires were reported burning in the northern and central parts of the state.
One fire left an elderly woman dead, destroyed five homes and charred 5,000 acres near Callisburg, a Cooke County community close to the Texas-Oklahoma border.
Firefighters weren't able to reach the woman, who had apparently fallen and broken her hip, Weaver said.
Children playing with fireworks days before the New Year apparently started fires Tuesday in Granbury and Kennedale, near Fort Worth.
"Normally it's not a big deal to play with fireworks in Texas in December, but it's so dry this year that it's extremely dangerous," Weaver said.
The Granbury fire spread to three neighborhoods, destroying at least 20 homes. A dozen firefighters were treated for smoke inhalation, Weaver said.
"We will begin our investigation, the fire department in unison with the police department. If we have a situation where we are able to prove that someone intentionally started this, we will probably prosecute them to the full extent of the law," Mayor Norwood said.
North Texas was under a National Weather Service "red flag warning," issued because strong winds, low humidity and extremely dry conditions could cause blazes to spread rapidly.
In Cherokee County in eastern Oklahoma, a new line of fires was reported early Wednesday. There were no reports of injuries or damage from that fire.
Grass fires were reported in 13 Oklahoma counties Tuesday.
Oklahoma City Fire Maj. Brian Stanaland said one firefighter suffered heat exhaustion and a child suffered minor burns from a fire that charred 400 acres in the suburb of Mustang. That blaze apparently was started by children playing with fireworks, Stanaland said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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