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Wildfires Burning Across Texas, USA – April 21st, 2011

31.9N 99.9W

April 21st, 2011 Category: Fires, Image of the day

USA and Mexico - April 15th, 2011

Wildfires sweeping across hundreds of thousands of acres in parched Texas killed a firefighter, forced hundreds of evacuations , including an entire town , and destroyed dozens of homes on April 14th, officials said.

Here, several plumes of smoke can be seen blowing towards the south and southeast in southern Texas, near the Mexico border.

Strong winds were fueling fires that spanned about 655 square miles, according to the Texas Forest Service. Some of the fires have been burning for a week or more, including three in West Texas that have charred a combined 400,000 acres.

A blaze destroyed about 30 homes and left a thick gray haze across the sky as it burned about 20,000 acres around Possum Kingdom Lake, a popular recreation spot about 120 miles west of Dallas.

Three large fires burning in Wichita County, about 150 miles northwest of Dallas near the Oklahoma border, had destroyed about 30 homes. Wildfires also prompted officials to evacuate Gorman, a city of about 1,200 residents.

Evacuations also were ordered for about 200 homes in the Possum Kingdom area and some in small communities north of San Angelo and Andrews, along the Texas-New Mexico border.

Some of the fires have been raging for days, though winds on Friday helped flames race across pastures and roadsides to consume areas the size of a football field in a minute. Strong winds are typical for spring, but this March was the driest in Texas since 1895, said a spokesperson for the Texas Forest Service.

In West Texas, a fire that started by a 10 days ago had grown to about 105,000 acres in Stonewall, King and Knox counties by Friday, while another 149,000-acre fire that began earlier this week continued raging in Kent, Stonewall and Fisher counties. A separate fire in the area that started nearly a week ago has spread to 165,000 acres in Jeff Davis County, about 200 miles east of El Paso.

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