National Team Takes Over PK Complex Wildfire

Officials estimate 90 percent of PK Lake Park burned

Firefighters battling a massive wildfire near Possum Kingdom Lake welcomed rain and cooler temperatures Wednesday.

A thunderstorm swept across the northwestern edge of the lake on Wednesday night, but the fires were still burning. Heavy rain -- perhaps 1.5 to 2 inches -- fell on the north side of the lake, said David Finfrock, NBC DFW chief meteorologist.

But only a few sprinkles fell south of the lake, where some of the most active fires are. However, the day's cooler temperatures, lower winds and higher humidity helped.

Firefighters won't have much of a break -- strong winds are expected to return Friday and the temperature will go back up.

In the past week, the wildfire has burned about 150,000 acres and destroyed about 160 homes. The fire is 25 percent contained, the Texas Forest Service said Thursday night.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife estimates that 90 percent of Possum Kingdom Lake Park has burned.

Man Saves Home From Fire With Buckets, Shovel

One homeowner fought off the flames from the massive Possum Kingdom Complex blaze as they burned the land around him.

Ken Mackey said he saw a wall of flames 40 feet high headed straight for his home off Highway 180 west of Palo Pinto.

"You really don't have time to think, you just do," he said. "A bucket of water, a shovel. That saved the day. It works, if you're fast enough."

Mackey said his home -- which is not insured -- is worth fighting for. He said he considers himself lucky, if not out of the woods yet.

"I'm still worried; yeah, I'm not saying we're in the clear," he said.

Mackey said he has seen a lot of wildfires over the years -- but not one quite like this.

"We have them every year, you know," he said. "But man, this here, this here is the grandpappy of them all."

Palo Pinto Evacuation Order Lifted

An evacuation order for Palo Pinto was lifted at 3 p.m.

Fire officials assured local officials that it is safe for residents to return home and come and go from the area as needed.

Officials remind the public to remain diligent after witnessing the fires over the past few days. Homeowners in the area should not let down their guard and continue to monitor fire information for the PK Complex fire.

National Team Takes Over PK Complex Wildfire

A national team of about 50 people from federal and state agencies have taken over management of the Possum Kingdom Complex fire.

Haven Cook, a spokeswoman for the national management team, said firefighting teams from across the nation will be brought in to help relieve the teams that have been working on the fire.

On Tuesday, Dallas-Fire Rescue announced it would send four teams of 10 firefighters each to battle the wildfire from Wednesday through May 1.

Meanwhile, National Weather Service meteorologist Eric Martello said area conditions are more favorable after a front brought higher humidity, cooler temperatures and calmer winds.

Across the state, the Texas Forest Service said that as of Tuesday there were 10 new fires burning an additional 2,184 acres.

Since Jan. 1, TFS has responded to 810 fires that have burned an estimated 1.4 million acres.  More than 5, 570 structures have been saved and only 370 lost.

Additionally, the TFS said that every heavy airtanker available nationally is committed to battling the Texas wildfires.

The TFS released the following information about wildfires near the Metroplex. To see a statewide list, click here.

Uncontained fires from previous days:

Stephens County, Mossy Rock Ranch Fire -- 800 acres, 95 percent contained.

Jack County, Bryson Fire Complex, two fires -- 7,500 acres. Initially, 14 businesses and 140 home and outbuildings were threatened and 70 people were evacuated. 95 percent contained.

Eastland County, CR 104 -- 2,000 acres, 5 homes and 1 vehicle previously destroyed. !00 % contained. Fire declared 100% controlled today.

Jack County, Dewebber Fire -- 20 acres, 100% contained. Fire declared 100% controlled today.


PK Complex Fire Update: The Southern Area Red Team continues to assist with managing the PK Complex.

The complex is currently 25% contained at 147,973 acres. There are 584 personnel assigned to the fire , including 4 crews, 100 engines, and 13 helicopters. Today crews will continue constructing dozer lines well ahead of the current fire perimeter, as well as keeping in place fire engines, firefighters, and other equipment to protect homes and other property in the PK Complex area. Cooler and wetter conditions today will allow aircraft to drop water directly on hot spots as they are found. This will provide a much needed opportunity to increase containment of the fire. The following road closures remain in place: 16N closed from the intersection with 180 at Brad to the intersection with 337. FM 4 is closed from the intersection with 180 to the intersection with 254. Road 254 is closed from the intersection of FM 4 to the intersection with 16N.

The evacuation for the following areas around Possum Kingdom Lake remains in place: the Peninsula; the area along 2353; the Cliffs resort; Gains Bend; Sportsmans World; and Hog Bend.

Help for Possum Kingdom Fire Victims

Volunteers in several towns near Possum Kingdom Lake have been collecting donations for homeowners and firefighters, but there have been so many donations Pondera Properties, the PK Lake community blog, reports there's no more room for donations.

Both the and the PK East Volunteer Fire Department are asking for monetary donations only.

North Texans who want to support emergency workers fighting fires can also make monetary donations to the Chisolm Trail Chapter of the American Red Cross or the Salvation Army, according to the Tarrant County Emergency Coordinator Melisa Patterson. Donations of food, water and sports drinks are being discouraged at this time.

PK East VFD - Support
Pondera Properties - PK Firefighter Relief Fund
Chisholm Trail Chapter - American Red Cross
Salvation Army Texas Wildfire Information

NBC DFW's Scott Gordon and Elvira Sakmari contributed to this report.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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