A North Texas wildfire that burned at least a dozen buildings continued to grow in hot and dry conditions Tuesday, officials said.
The Chalk Mountain Fire, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) southwest of Fort Worth, is the largest Texas wildfire since burning 6,000 acres Tuesday afternoon, the Texas A&M Forest Service said Tuesday morning, up from 4,000 acres (1,600 hectares). The fire, which started Monday afternoon, was only 10% contained, and crews using bulldozers were digging up containment lines and fire trucks and aircraft were working to extinguish the blaze, the Forest Service said.
As of Tuesday afternoon, it was unclear how many of the 12 structures lost were residential or commercial, Forest Service spokeswoman Mary Leathers said.
Meanwhile, crews continue to battle a wildfire that has burned at least 10 buildings around a lake in North Texas, officials said.
The fire, which started Monday afternoon at Possum Kingdom Lake, about 70 miles (113 kilometers) west of Fort Worth, has burned 500 acres (202 hectares) and was 10 percent contained Tuesday, Forest Service spokesman Adam Turner said. Fire crews were working around the clock, focusing on protecting threatened homes in recreational subdivisions on the lake’s western shore.
The area has been under a voluntary evacuation notice, the Forest Service said.
No one was injured in the fire and the cause was under investigation. High temperatures approaching 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43 degrees Celsius), combined with winds gusting up to 30 mph (40-50 km/h) and drought conditions have fueled the region’s blaze, the Forest Service said. .
The National Weather Service issued a red flag fire warning for north and central Texas and western and eastern Oklahoma on Tuesday.
“We’re experiencing a dry fuel that we haven’t seen in 10 years,” Turner said. “Any spark that lands on tall grass or short grass should be ignited.”
Wildfires and intense heat in Texas and parts of the United States Unseasonably hot and dry weather has gripped large swaths of Europe since last week, sparking wildfires from Portugal to the Balkans and causing hundreds of heat-related deaths.