Wildfires burn thousands of acres near Possum Kingdom Lake



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Posted on August 10, 2012 at 5:30 PM

Updated Saturday, Aug 11 at 5:18 PM

PALO PINTO COUNTY -- Fire crews are working to contain two fires burning near Possum Kingdom Lake. Palo Pinto County Fire Marshal Buddy Harwell said they now believe the fires have each burned an area of 1,400 acres or larger.

"Fire is a living, breathing creature and this one doesn't want to die," said Mark Engebretson, a volunteer firefighter.

They called in for backup, and now approximately 120 firefighters are involved. 25 people were evacuated from the Brazos Bend area as a precaution.

The Texas Forest service reports the Rhodes Ranch II fire was just 25 percent contained Friday night and had consumed 1,400 acres.

Earlier Friday, fire crews had a better handle on the situation, but winds kicked up allowing the flames to jump containment lines.

"We've had a lot of wind-direction change, which has in some cases helped us, but in other case it has hurt us," Engebretson said.

Pondera Properties, which has become a source of information for lake residents, posted on its Facebook page the fire was burning less than a mile from Highway 180.

A separate fire nearby, the Dark Valley Fire, was also listed as 25 percent contained Friday night and had consumed 1,500 acres, according to the Texas Forest Service.

"It's been very stubborn, very tough," Engebretson said.

Lightning is believed to have started both fires. The Dark Valley fire began on Tuesday, and the Rhodes fire began Thursday.

The fires are burning near the resort communities surrounding Possum Kingdom Lake which sustained massive damage in the Spring of 2011 when wildfires destroyed more than 150 homes.

"We've been kind of waiting on the other shoe to drop all year," Engebretson said.

But he went on to say they feel lucky compared to last year, when wildfires in the area started in April.

There have been no homes of businesses lost in the fire, and no injuries reported.

E-mail mmoore@wfaa.com