Officials said that a series wildfires erupted in central Texas on Thursday night due to strong gusty winds and low humidity. At least 50 homes were destroyed and at least one person was killed. According to the Texas A&M Forest Service, the Eastland Complex wildfires were 90% contained by Friday afternoon. They had already burned 45,383 acres.
The Eastland Complex is made up of four wildfires: the Kidd Fire (Wheat Field Fire), Walling Fire, Walling Fire, and Oak Mott Fire. This information was provided by the Texas A&M Forest Service . According to the Associated Press, hundreds of Eastland County residents were urged to evacuate. Fire officials urged the community to exercise fire safety, be cautious, and evacuate as soon as possible.
A temporary flight restriction was issued to the area in order to make space for firefighting aircraft. The Texas A&M Forest Service stated.
Meanwhile, Eastland County deputy Barbara Fenley, who was responding to the fires, died on Thursday night.
Frisco Police Department tweeted Friday, “Due to limited visibility, Deputy Fenley’s vehicle ran off of the roadway and was then subsequently engulfed in wildfire.” We will never forget her sacrifice.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott directed flags to be reduced to half-staff in Eastland County to honor Fenley. He also gifted the state flag to Fenley’s family during a press conference.
Abbott stated that Texas has great appreciation for Abbott’s service. She said she appreciated her willingness to step up and do what Texas law enforcement officers do every day. “They risk their lives to protect and preserve their communities, and that’s what she did.”
Abbott stated that at least 50 homes, most of them in Eastland and Comanche in Brown County, were destroyed by the fires. He said that he believes more homes will be destroyed as soon as they are able to monitor the damages in the area over time.
He also signed a Disaster Proclamation to assist the 11 Texas counties that were impacted by the Eastland Complex.
Abbott warned that wildfires could spread due to the dry terrain and shifting winds in the area.
He said, “We cannot emphasize enough that there remains danger.” Weather and winds are part of the battle we’re facing.