Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Texas State of Emmergency

After spending my holiday in the Dallas/Fort Worth area this is sad but not surprising. Kennedale in Tarrant County had a severe grass fire occur today.

Perry's office said 73 fires were being fought around the state as of Monday, mostly in North and Central Texas. His office didn't have an updated number Tuesday because the situation is "in flux." There were no immediate reports of injuries or deaths.

One of the largest fires was in Kennedale, a bedroom community of about 6,100 people just south of Fort Worth. Large plumes of white smoke rose above the town. Television footage showed homes damaged, outbuildings in flames and residents spraying hoses and dumping buckets of water at the fire.

Fort Worth Fire Department Lt. Kent Worley said the department was helping battle the blaze in Kennedale, which jumped U.S. Highway 287 and prompted officials to temporarily shut it down.

In Arlington, fires threatened new housing developments and apartment complexes. Strong winds were the biggest obstacle for about 20 firefighters trying to contain the blaze, Deputy Fire Marshal Keith Ebel said.

The situation is under control at this point, but the unusually hot winter has caused these fires.

"It was a matter of time this was going to happen," Ebel said. "By no means are we out of the woods. This fire's just occurred in one small area of town. We have a whole lot of other areas."

They are not just in Tarrant, but fire chiefs and emergency response to have their plan in place and working.

In Hood County, southwest of Fort Worth and Tarrant County, a fire near Canyon Creek forced at least 100 people to evacuate, said Jerry Lind, chief deputy for the Hood County Sheriff's Office. He said several structures were on fire, and propane tanks have exploded.

Cities where fires were reported included Colleyville, Boyd, Joshua and Denton. Blazes were also reported in counties including Parker, Hood and Tarrant.

Perry's disaster declaration activates the state emergency management plan and authorizes the deployment of any forces, equipment or supplies required for the response.

The governor deployed four Texas Army National Guard helicopters, and obtained two air tankers and two helicopters from the U.S. Forest Service.


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