Videos: Incoming Rain May Offer Temporary Reprieve as Texas Officials Battle Devastating Wildfire

© REUTERS / TWITTER/@JOHNNYHAYSMDEastland Complex wildfire burns near Rising Star, Eastland County, Texas, U.S. March 17, 2022 in this still image obtained from a social media video.
Eastland Complex wildfire burns near Rising Star, Eastland County, Texas, U.S. March 17, 2022 in this still image obtained from a social media video. - Sputnik International, 1920, 22.03.2022
Authorities in Texas announced earlier that fires had burned about 130 square miles (336 square km), with around 70 square miles (181 square km) in the Eastland Complex, located around 120 miles (193 km) west of the city of Dallas.
The Texas wildfires, which began last week, continue to rage over sections of the state as of Monday, while a storm system heading through could deliver much-needed rain but also some severe winds, according to forecasters.
According to the latest data cited in media reports, two people have died in the fires, and one in Oklahoma. The largest blaze is only 30% contained after burning nearly 85 square miles (220 square km).
Monique Sellers, a National Weather Service meteorologist, told the Dallas Morning News that one inch (2.5 cm) of rain was forecast for Eastland county on Monday, which might provide firefighters with a much-needed break from the harsh conditions fueling the fires.
Heavy winds are forecast to continue in several parts of the region, however, making containment operations more difficult.
"The rain will relieve how dry it is in those grassy areas prone to fires," she said. "Unfortunately, Monday is the only day we’re seeing any rain for the foreseeable future, and the windy days will continue."
The agency also issued red flag warnings into Monday evening, citing severely dry conditions and high winds.
Frightening videos of the raging fires have been shared on social media by local residents, state agencies and weather watchers.
In particular, strong fires were noted in Hood County, Texas, near the city of Lipan, where several communities were evacuated.
On Friday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced that he had issued a disaster declaration for 11 counties in the state, adding that some 50 homes had been destroyed. Abbott described the wildfire as one of the worst the state has ever seen.
"We are so grateful for the sacrifice and service of firefighters who have come from across the entire state to extinguish the largest wildfire in Texas history," he added.
A sheriff's deputy in Texas and a firefighter in Oklahoma have died as a result of the fires. April Partridge, a volunteer firefighter with the municipality of Edgewater Park's volunteer fire department, was identified as the Oklahoma firefighter, per media reports. Deputy Sgt. Barbara Fenley was going door-to-door to assist evacuations as the fire moved in on Carbon, Texas, and she was killed as she tried to check on an elderly person, according to the Eastland County Sheriff's office, cited by the media.
Dry, windy weather has fanned devastating wildfires in Kansas and Oklahoma for several months, including one just a few weeks ago. A big wildfire has been blazing for many days in an isolated ranching region in western Nebraska.
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