Texas Wildfire Destroys Homes; Firefighters Hurt by Smoke Inhalation

April 6, 2009

The Texas Forest Services says 24 firefighters have been treated for smoke inhalation from fighting Texas wildflires, near the Panhandle town of Wheeler, where four homes have been lost and an estimated 20 homes damaged in an 11,000-acre fire.

Texas Forest Service spokesman Lewis Kearney said 20 of the firefighters returned to work on April 4 while four were released but not back to work.

Wheeler County authorities said Saturday evening that residents could return after being told to evacuate due to a wildfire hours earlier.
The instructions to evacuate came after a wildfire jumped the North Fork of the Red River and threatened Wheeler, a town of about 1,300 residents near the Texas-Oklahoma border, about 90 miles east of Amarillo.

Meanwhile, Kearney says a 2,170-acre fire burning in Jack County had prompted 12-18 evacuations Saturday night.

The 300-acre fire in Jeff Davis County is 60 percent contained and crews worked late Saturday night battling a 100-acre fire in Nolan County.

Smoke caused visibility problems for drivers on I-40 in the Panhandle. Amarillo fire Capt. Bob Johnson said 10 people involved in accidents on I-40 were taken to the hospital. He said firefighters treated people in 10 tractor-trailers and 10 cars

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