Fast-moving grass fires in several North Texas municipalities burned more than 13,000 acres Friday.
The wildfires spread rapidly in high winds Friday afternoon. The dry grass, high winds and low humidity were all the fuel needed to turn a small spark into a grass fire. Southerly winds gusted more than 30 mph, and humidity was around 10 to 15 percent, according to the National Weather Service.
The Texas Forest Service battled blazes in Jack, Bosque, Somervell, Wise and Hood counties.
Jack County Fires
In Jack County, as many as nine homes were destroyed, and at least 3,000 acres were charred.
Firefighters set up a makeshift command post at the rodeo grounds west of Jacksboro. Firefighters used bulldozers and a heavy air tanker to try to squelch the blaze, which began Friday morning.
But shortly before 10 p.m., the Texas Forest Service said the fire was only 60 percent contained.
Residents anxiously waited at a police roadblock on Highway 380, not knowing if their homes were still there.
“It’s crazy,” said resident Fay Hart. “Part of the land beside my house was on fire, but nobody’s told me anything else yet.”
About 150 homes were evacuated.
Assistant Fire Chief Thomas Wyatt of the small town of Jermyn said fighting the fast-moving flames was “kind of like a headache. Everything is kind of going squirrely.”
Sheriff’s deputies and state troopers evacuated dozens of families and sealed off roads in the thick smoke.
Nobody was hurt.
Somervell and Bosque County Fires
Almost a dozen different fire organizations battled grass fires in Bosque and Somervell counties.
Senior Trooper Earl "Dub" Gillum said the fires in Bosque County burned about 6,000 acres. The wildfire is 35 percent contained, according to the Texas Forest Service.
Gillum said about 100 homes were threatened by the fire, and about 40 families evacuated.
As of late Friday night, no homes were damaged.
Roughly 500 acres burned in Somervell County.
Wise County Fires
A sent massive amounts of smoke from south to north across state Highway 287, stalling traffic as drivers hesitated to drive through the blinding smoke.
Several homes narrowly escaped danger as the fire quickly burned up to the homes foundation before running out of fuel and dying out. Firefighters say the wildfire, which was under control Friday evening, could have burned about 300 acres.
In Wise County, firefighters from Rhome, Greenwood, Newark, Boyd, East Wise, Decatur, Chico and Slidell were all assisting.
Also in Wise County, crews battled a fire just north of Decatur in the LBJ National Grasslands.
The Texas Forest Service said Friday evening that the fire burned 265 acres and was 35 percent contained.
No buildings were destroyed, but 24 structures were damaged, the forest service said.
Hood County Fires
In Hood County, two homes were destroyed by fire and four others were threatened and saved.
Officials said six acres burned, and eight additional homes were evacuated. Firefighters had the fire under control.
One person was injured and transported to an area hospital.