Worst Fire in Texas History Destroys More than 1,000 Homes

09/06/2011 17:54

Urban Christian News:  The most destructive wildfire on record in Texas showed no signs of slowing Monday, destroying 25,000 acres in Bastrop County and more houses than any single wildfire, according to the Texas Forest Service.

With more than 60 new wildfires raging across the state, including one that burned more than 210 acres in Stone Oak, Gov. Rick Perry left the presidential campaign trail Monday in South Carolina to address the public and organize requests for more federal aid.

More than 1,000 homes have been destroyed by the fires, more than all other fires this year combined have destroyed, officials said.

Local fire officials blamed sparks from a San Antonio Water System truck that accidentally caught on fire for the Stone Oak blaze, which burned more than 210 acres in North Bexar County.

The fire began around 1:30 p.m. in a field off Stone Oak Parkway and Evans Road and quickly spread, prompting evacuations at The Abbey at Stone Oak Apartments as well as the Estates at Canyon Ridge apartments, according to the Fire Department and the Red Cross.

The fire was contained by 5 p.m., and no one was seriously injured, Fire Chief Charles Hood said. Evacuated residents were allowed to return home by 10 p.m. Only one townhouse was reportedly damaged.

On Monday evening, San Antonio and other area fire departments helped battled a grass fire in Selma that burned about 200 acres near the old Verizon Wireless Amphitheater. The fire, which began about 7:30 p.m., charred the area, which Selma Fire Chief Ric Braun called "a big tinderbox of dried vegetation -- a fire hazard."

The fire got near a large apartment complex, and a voluntary evacuation was ordered, but firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze about an hour and a half later, and no one was injured, Braun said.

No injuries have been reported in the Central Texas fires either, but two people were reported killed in an East Texas fire Monday. A woman and her 18-month-old child died when a fast-moving fire near Gladewater set their mobile home on fire and they were unable to escape.

In Williamson County, 500 people were evacuated and at least eight homes were destroyed by a 300-acre fire that began around 4:40 p.m. in Leander, officials said.

The Bastrop County Complex Fire, pushed by strong winds and fed by dry grass, shrubs and trees, steadily moved south Monday and expanded through the day. It jumped the Colorado River twice.

"We will be working days on end," said Mike Fisher, Bastrop County's emergency management coordinator. "The fire is so dynamic we really have no idea where it is."

Perry said the fire is "as mean looking" as he's ever seen.


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