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Wednesday
Apr202011

Texas Wildfires Consume Area Size of Rhode Island

Hemera Technologies/Stockbyte/Thinkstock(DALLAS) -- Several wild fires continue to burn through drought-stricken Texas, consuming over one million acres of land and destroying about 150 homes and a church, according to the Texas Forest Service.

On Tuesday, authorities began enforcing evacuation orders in Palo Pinto, 50 miles west of the Dallas-Ft. Worth metro area. So far 1,700 first responders from 34 states have responded to the cry for help from Texas authorities, not counting volunteer firefighters.

"They told us to get the heck out," Palo Pinto resident Coleman Price told ABC News Austin affiliate KVUE. Price spent his last few hours in town packing up family belongings such as files and clothes.

The fire, which began on Friday in the area of Possum Kingdom Lake, Texas (about 70 miles west of Dallas-Ft. Worth), has spread west, causing devastating fires in the surrounding communities. "I would get text after text, 'we lost our house'," Hopi Hodge of Palo Pinto County told KVUE from a shelter in Ft. Worth. Prisoners at the Palo Pinto County Jail were transferred out of the area to safety.

Some area residents left cars, trucks and trailers in open fields in the hopes that they might be spared from the coming blaze. Others decided to try to tough it out against government orders to try to defend their homesteads. Marty Jones and her husband have decided to stay, but they are apprehensive. "It's never been this close before, I'm scared," she told KVUE.

There is some hope on the horizon for Texas residents and firefighters, with rain and higher humidity levels forecast for Wednesday and Thursday. However, there is still only a 20 to 30 percent chance of rain in the area according to Daniel Huckaby, a forecaster at the National Weather Service in Fort Worth, as firefighters continue to fight the inferno.

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