At least one person was killed and nearly 500 homes were evacuated in central Texas after a series of wildfires burned more than 45,000 acres of land on Thursday and Friday, according to authorities. The wildfires, collectively called the Eastland Complex fire, began on Thursday evening.
An Eastland County deputy officer died in the blaze while helping others, local authorities said. The officer’s name was not released.
On Friday afternoon, about 10 percent of the fire was contained. according to the Texas A&M Forest Service.
“This is definitely one to pay attention to,” Madison Gordon, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said, adding that this was the first wildfire of this magnitude to hit Texas this year.
Ms. Gordon said that forecasters had anticipated the blaze’s size and had sent several warnings. On Thursday, the National Weather Service issued wind advisories for central and northern regions of the state.
The wildfire consists of four fires, according to the Texas A&M Forest Service. The largest, the Kidd fire, was responsible for burning 30,000 acres alone.
The Eastland Complex fire scorched parts of Comanche and Eastland Counties, according to InciWeb, which tracks fires. Communities affected included Gorman, where roughly 475 homes were evacuated; Carbon, where a highway was closed; and Lake Leon. Gorman is about 100 miles west of Fort Worth.
Residents were sharing footage of the fire across social media, including scenes of damaged homes and other wreckage. And smoke from the blaze was reaching other regions in the state, including Houston, some 300 miles away, the National Weather Service said.
The Houston health department told residents, especially those with respiratory issues, to stay indoors on Friday. Smoke from fire can lead to several health issues, including burning eyes and chronic heart and lung disease, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Source: NY Times