March 21, 2022 — The Eastland Complex fires (between Ft. Worth and Abilene, consisting of 4 separate blazes) continue, which as of Sunday night have burned about 60,000 acres, after destroying dozens of homes and killing a sheriff’s deputy, according to state officials.
Evacuations are underway in portions of nearly a dozen areas of the state.
More than 400 firefighters are battling the fires, according to authorities, which are being whipped up and exacerbated by strong winds and dry conditions.
Deputy Sgt. Barbara Fenley, 51, was assisting evacuation efforts in the city of Carbon and was last heard from when she was on her way to check on an elderly person, the Eastland County Sheriff’s Office said.
The Texas A&M Forest Service said on Sunday there was potential for new, significant fires near multiple cities including Amarillo, Lubbock, Midland, San Angelo, Abilene, Childress, Wichita Falls, Mineral Wells, Lampasas and Fredericksburg.
Governor Greg Abbott has issued a disaster declaration for Brooks, Brown, Coleman, Comanche, Eastland, Grayson, Mason, Potter, Randall, Reynolds and Williamson counties, allowing the use of all state resources available for fire fighting.
The Edmunson Fire east of Midland is a moderate fire burning nearly 4,000 acres along the Glasscock-Sterling counties border; and a 28-acre fire north of Midland started Sunday afternoon burning grass and brush with “high potential” for expansion, according to the Forest Service, with some residents now being evacuated.
Video from a facility in Erath County (the Stephenville area) Sunday night
South of Odessa along I-20 is the Rifle Club Fire, reported Sunday evening with 106 acres burning and “moderate” potential for growth on Monday.
About 1 p.m. Sunday in Rising Star, a tornado of smoke erupted just beyond a field of cattle…Moments after that, Lipan, part of Hood County, went under a mandatory evacuation, the Dallas Morning News reported Sunday.
Then people in Tolar and Bluff Dale, on the Hood and Erath county line, were also told to leave.
Smoky air and skies are reported from central and north Texas south to the Houston area.
The drought conditions contributing to the dry conditions are not limited to Texas;
Wet but windy conditions are expected in the eastern half of Texas for Monday into Tuesday morning
The photograph above is from an archive, is supplied by the Texas A&M Forest Service and is from a previous year’s fire.