Fires Flare in Texas While Cleanup Starts on Burned Homes, Businesses

February 1, 2008

A day after wildfires burned almost 30 square miles across Texas, a few more blazes sprang up Jan. 30 while victims sifted through the charred remnants of their homes.

Gary Karr spent the day moving debris from his blackened mobile home moving business near Reno, west of Fort Worth. The building sustained about $100,000 in damage, while much of his equipment and hundreds of tires were destroyed.

“It’s just one of them things that happens,” Karr said. “There’s not much you can do about it, but I’m very grateful that even though we lost a lot, they saved a lot too.”

His was one of several dozen homes or businesses, mostly in Parker and Wise counties, in the path of 18,700 acres of wildfires fueled by winds of more than 50 mph in some places. Hundreds of acres of hay also were lost.

The humidity increased and winds decreased a bit Jan. 30, but with conditions still ripe for fires, the National Weather Service issued a warning for about 60 percent of the state. Some hot spots reignited in North Texas, while some new blazes started, officials said. The Texas Forest Service helped fight fires in about a dozen East Texas. No injuries were reported.

To deal with the continued wildfire threat, seven Texas Military Forces utility helicopters were activated in Austin, San Antonio and the Dallas-Fort Worth area, according to Gov. Rick Perry’s office. One CH-47 helicopter is on standby in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Perry issued a state disaster proclamation Jan. 30 for 152 of the state’s 254 counties, allowing them to be eligible for state assistance. Burn bans are already in place in those counties.

One of the largest fires was in South Texas, a 12,000-acre blaze that spread from Duval to Brooks County on Tuesday afternoon and was not put out until early Wednesday.

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