More homes in danger in Palo Pinto County neighborhood

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by CYNTHIA VEGA

WFAA & The Associated Press

Posted on April 19, 2011 at 9:17 AM

Updated Tuesday, Apr 19 at 12:04 PM

Possum Kingdom Lake

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STRAWN, Texas - A Texas official says a wildfire burning less than 100 miles from the Dallas-Fort Worth area could be twice as big as previous estimates.

Texas Forest Service spokesman Marq Webb says the fire burning Tuesday near Possum Kingdom Lake may have grown to about 120,000 acres. It was previously estimated at 63,000 acres.

The Possum Kingdom fire would be the fifth of at least 100,000 acres around Texas. The state is managing about 1,500 firefighters battling blazes that have consumed more than 1,000 square miles of parched Texas ranchland.

Homes in a Strawn neighborhood are still in danger from the blazing wildfires that devoured houses Monday as firefighters worked against strong winds to battle the fires.

Early Tuesday morning, only debris was left of homes destroyed by the wildfire the day before along Possum Kingdom Lake. While firefighters worked to contain the blaze early Monday afternoon, firefighters' fears of a wind change came true, changing for the worst at about 4 p.m. Winds picked up and the blaze began blowing towards the homes.

Four large fires linked and destroyed thousands of acres.

The Texas Forest Service has reported at least 32 homes and one church were destroyed. The department says as many as 500 multi-million-dollar homes in the Sportsman's World resort area are threatened by the wildfires.

The threat is so serious in the area that it has been declared a Level 1 disaster. About 1,600 firefighters from 35 different states have come to the aid to help battle the fires. Each firefighter has taken on 12 to 15-hour shifts.

Already battling fatigue, firefighters will face an even tougher time as temperatures are expected to rise into the low 90s with low humidity and more heavy winds.

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