The Eastland Complex Fire rages in an open field in Texas Sunday.
Firefighters in Texas are working to protect people and homes as 175 wildfires have burned nearly 95,000 acres across the state in the past week, the state’s forest service said Sunday.
As of Sunday, there were 23 active wildfires, Texas A&M Forest Service spokeswoman Erin O’Connor said, the largest of those being the Eastland Complex Fire ripping through central Texas.
The complex fire was a combination of four fires Saturday, according to the Texas A&M Forest Service, but by Sunday, three more fires had been added, totaling an estimated 54,015 acres and only 30% containment, the forest service said.
The seven fires in the Eastland Complex Fire include:
- Kidd Fire, Eastland County (42,333 acres, 40% contained)
- Blowing Basin Fire, Eastland County (est. 258 acres, 50% contained)
- Cedar Mountain Fire, Eastland County (est. 179 acres, 0% contained)
- Oak Mott Fire, Brown County (4,031 acres, 75% contained)
- Wheat Field Fire, Eastland County (7,268 acres, 55% contained)
- Mangum Fire, Eastland County (est. 11 acres, 85% contained)
- Walling Fire, Eastland County (383 acres, 100% contained)
The four initial fires that formed the Eastland Complex Fire began Wednesday and Thursday, the forest service said. More than 140 structures are reported destroyed, fire officials said, without differentiating between homes, businesses or outbuildings. On Friday, Gov. Greg Abbott said at least 50 homes across three communities had been destroyed.
Some relief may come Monday afternoon as the region is expected to be in the path of severe storms and could get up to two inches of rain, CNN Meteorologist Robert Shackelford said. Statewide, the severe weather could impact up to 20 million Texans throughout the afternoon and evening hours, Shackelford added.
At least one person has died as a result of the flames. Eastland County Deputy Sgt. Barbara Fenley died Thursday night as she helped evacuate people in the town of Carbon, about 100 miles west of Fort Worth.
She was last heard from while on her way to assist an elderly person, the Eastland County Sheriff’s Office said.
Amid deteriorating conditions and low visibility from smoke, Fenley ran off the roadway and was killed in the flames, the sheriff’s office said.
Abbott, who on Friday issued a disaster declaration for 11 counties, including Eastland, ordered flags be flown at half-staff in Fenley’s honor.
“We will never forget her sacrifice,” the governor said.