As of noon on Friday, wildfires in Eastland County, Texas, had burned across 45,000 acres, according to WFAA Dallas.
Eastland Complex Blaze: At least four separate fires across central Texas have combined to form the Eastland Complex blaze.
- The four fires were the Kidd Fire (30,000 acres), Wheatfield Fire (5,000 acres), Oak Mott Fire (4,500 acres) and the Walling Fire (383 acres), reported WFAA Dallas.
- As of Friday afternoon, the Eastland Complex is only 5% contained. Dry conditions and high-speed winds have resulted in a rapid spread of the fires, according to WFAA Dallas.
- “As of Friday morning, the fires had burned about 62.5 square miles, according to the Texas A&M Forest Service. The scorched area is roughly one-fifth the size of the city of Fort Worth,” reported NBC Dallas Fort Worth.
Residents evacuate to avoid harm: Evacuation orders for residents living in affected counties were put in place on Thursday. Approximately 475 homes were evacuated, according to CNN.
Aircraft assistance: A total of three air tankers, two helicopters and a chinook were used to assist in fighting the flames, according to WFAA Dallas.
- “The aircraft will be beneficial to helping slow the spread of the fire and helping to protect structures while ground crews work to build containment lines around the fires and focus on structure protection,” said Erin O’Connor, a spokesperson for the Fire Service, per WFAA.
A devastated community: A Texas Forest Service spokesperson stated that there was reported damage to some structures, but official reports are not yet available, according to WFAA Dallas.
- A 100-year-old church was reported to be engulfed in flames in the city of Ranger, according to WFAA Dallas.
- In the small town of Carbon, an estimated 40 buildings were burned, according to NBC Dallas Fort Worth.
- “I’ve been fire chief here 40 years and when you have something like this ... it hurts. It hurts the whole community,” said Fire Chief Darrell Fox of Ranger. “This church had been here 100 years. (And) this right here was my first fire station when I first went to work for the City of Ranger. So you know, a lot of it is sentimental,” said Fox, per CNN.