Overnight storm helps crews fight Texas wildfires

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Associated Press

Posted on April 10, 2011 at 10:02 PM

Updated Monday, Apr 11 at 12:33 PM

DALLAS (AP) — An overnight thunderstorm have given fire crews at least a temporary break as they try to contain a wildfire burning in northern Texas.

The blaze has scorched about 110 square miles of rolling prairies, but cooler temperatures are allowing firefighters time to dig trenches and burn brush that would otherwise fuel the wildfire. The Texas Forest Service says that fire was 50 percent contained as of this morning.

But it's only one of several fires burning throughout the drought-stricken state. In all some 480 square miles have burned in the past week.

In West Texas, firefighters are battling a blaze that's destroyed 40 homes in the town of Fort Davis. Winds now have blown that fire north and east into largely unpopulated wilderness. Officials says it's not threatening any other homes right now.

Still resident describe the scene over the weekend as "horrific." The editor of the weekly Jeff Davis County Mountain Dispatch says a fast-moving wall of flame overwhelm the air, burning buildings and livestock.

Another West Texas fire burned 25 square miles in Midland County over the weekend, destroying about 34 homes.

%@AP Links

Sound:

<<CUT *196 (04/11/11)>> 00:10 "firefighters can do"

David Schrieber (SCHRY'-bur), owner of the Veranda Historic inn

Bed and Breakfast owner David Schreiber says it was a harrowing time for him and others in the small town.

<<CUT *195 (04/11/11)>> 00:12 "ranchers can't afford"

David Schrieber (SCHRY'-bur), owner of the Veranda Historic inn

Bed and Breakfast owner David Schreiber says few if any of the ranchers in his area escaped damage from the wildfire.

<<CUT *194 (04/11/11)>> 00:07 "lot of smoke"

David Schrieber (SCHRY'-bur), owner of the Veranda Historic inn

Bed and Breakfast owner David Schreiber says Saturday night was the most frightening time for him as the fire surrounded Fort Davis.

<<CUT *193 (04/11/11)>> 00:14 "state of Texas"

Justice Jones, Texas Forest Service spokesman

Texas Forest Service Spokesman Justice Jones says a number of large ranches and cattle have burned in the fires.

<<CUT *192 (04/11/11)>> 00:12 "a fire state"

Justice Jones, Texas Forest Service spokesman

Texas Forest Service Spokesman Justice Jones says that this has been one of the worse years for wildfires, but there has been an increase in such blazes over the last several years.

<<CUT *191 (04/11/11)>> 00:15 "for sustained losses"

Justice Jones, Texas Forest Service spokesman

Texas Forest Service Spokesman Justice Jones says that the greatest fear is wildfire in or near large cities in the state. ((note length of cut))

<<GRAPHICSBANK 1105404 (04/10/11)>> 2000x1500

Home destroyed by wildfire, Fort Davis, Texas, on texture, lettering TEXAS WILDFIRES, finished graphic

<<APPHOTO DN101 (04/10/11)>>

: An uncontrolled wildfire burns at the Jeff Davis and Presidio County line near Fort Davis, Texas, Sunday, April 10, 2011. A fast-moving wildfire had spread to more than 60,000 acres in Presidio County and Jeff Davis County, where it destroyed about 20 homes in Fort Davis.

<<APPHOTO DN103 (04/10/11)>>

: A home destroyed fire is shown as an uncontrolled wildfire burns in the background in Fort Davis, Texas, Sunday, April 10, 2011. A fast-moving wildfire had spread to more than 60,000 acres in Presidio County and Jeff Davis County, where it destroyed about 20 homes in Fort Davis.

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