Several people were killed, 50 houses were damaged, and about 500 people were evacuated in central Texas after a wildfire scorched more than 45,000 acres, authorities reported on Friday night.
Beginning on Thursday evening, a series of blazes west of the Dallas-Fort Worth region known as the Eastland Complex fire spread over the area. Barbara Fenley, a deputy of the Eastland County Sheriff’s Office, was killed while assisting victims in their escape, according to the authorities.
According to the Texas A&M Forest Service’s Twitter account, the wildfire was 15 percent controlled as of Friday afternoon. Construction personnel were putting up fire-containment lines around buildings, while aircraft poured water and fire-retardant chemicals into the area, according to the report.
On Friday, Gov. Greg Abbott signed a disaster declaration, which would enable the state to better assist the 11 counties that have been impacted by the fire. He said that further counties might be added.
Mr. Abbott said that the fire was still hazardous due to “every-shifting winds” and parched terrain around it.
The forest service said on Friday that it was battling ten wildfires throughout the state that had scorched more than 52,000 acres. The agency added that high winds and dry grasses were contributing reasons to the blazes’ spread.
The National Weather Service office in Fort Worth reported on Friday evening that increased fire risk was forecast in several nations west of the city during the weekend, according to the National Weather Service.
This is the first major wildfire of this scale to occur in Texas this year, according to Madison Gordon, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
Gorman, where around 475 houses were evacuated, Carbon, where a highway was stopped, and Lake Leon were among the communities impacted by the storm. Gorman, Texas, is located around 100 miles west of Fort Worth. Shelters for evacuees were set up in a variety of locations, including churches and a school.
Residents posted video of the blaze on social media, including images of destroyed houses and pictures of the fire. According to the National Weather Service, smoke from the conflagration was reaching other sections of the state, including Houston, which is around 300 miles away.
The Houston Health Department advised citizens, particularly those suffering from respiratory conditions, to remain inside on Friday..
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, smoke from a fire may cause a variety of health concerns, including burning eyes and chronic heart and lung illness.