Dangerous wildfires burning across North Texas

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WFAA

Posted on September 4, 2011 at 4:03 PM

Updated Sunday, Nov 24 at 7:58 AM

Dangerous wildfires were popping up across North Texas and much of the rest of the state Sunday as gusty winds combined with tinder dry vegetation and low humidity conspired to create favorable conditions.

The Texas Forest Service said it was aware of 50 different range fires burning on Sunday.

Navarro County was hit particulary hard. At the peak, at least 10 fires were burning in and around the county seat of Corsicana.

"The fire right now is probably approaching 2,000 acres," Navarro County Judge H.M. Davenport Jr. told News 8 at 5:30 p.m. Sunday. "There's another fire as well in the Dawson area; we don't know the containment on that just yet."

Davenport acknowledged the additional problems being caused by the weather. "With the wind and the fuel levels, it's pretty tough — even with with all 25 volunteer fire departments in use right now," he said.

There were two big fires in Corsicana. One fire located at Oak and Roan destroyed eight structures.

"Both of those have been contained and so we are in good shape as far as the City of Corsicana," said Mayor Chuck McClanahan.

Owners of car lots near the split of Highway 287 and Business Interstate 45 raced to move vehicles out of the path of the fire as other employees used garden hoses to moisten surrounding property.

No homes were lost in Corsicana, but a total of nine structures and 14 vehicles burned.

A railroad trestle near the town of Navarro was consumed by the fast-moving fire. Wooden ties that hold the tracks were also ablaze north and south of the burning bridge.

"At this point, I don't know if there's much they can do," said HD Chopper 8 pilot Matt Murphey.

The largest Navarro County fire was said to be near the towns of Mildred and Navarro southeast of Corsicana, where 2,400 acres were charred. No injuries were reported, but a railroad trestle caught up in the inferno burned out of control.

The fire near Dawson charred 500 acres. It was snuffed out Sunday night and no homes were lost.

All available Navarro County firefighters were called out to assist.

About 200 acres of land in Kaufman County south of Lively were ablaze Sunday afternoon as the fire burned rapidly south toward the Henderson County line.

Kaufman County Fire Marshal Larry Ewing said the fire had consumed at least one double-wide trailer. The State Operations Center said two homes were destroyed. Some sources said the fire was leaping across county roads. All available county resources were deployed in the fight.

In Ellis County, multiple fires were reported along Interstate 45 and US 287.

Firefighters from 25 departments, including some volunteers, are involving in the firefighting effort. State resources have been requested.

A number of wildfires were reported in Cook County near Gainesville. A witness at the JK Bar & Grill told News 8 that a nearby building was ablaze and several streets were blocked off.

Other fires were reported in Dallas, Van Zandt, Rockwall and Cook counties on Sunday.

The National Weather Service says a strong cold front moving across North Texas is bringing winds gusting to nearly 40 mph, creating dangerous fire conditions across the region.

WFAA reporter Monika Diaz in Corsicana contributed to this report.

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