Drought conditions across much of the state fuel Central Texas wildfires

Large areas of the state are currently at high or extreme danger for wildfire.

By Jill Ament & Shelly BrisbinMarch 18, 2022 10:28 am,

A fire in Ranger, Texas, has destroyed buildings in the city’s historic downtown, including the police department and a 100-year-old church. And a wildfire in Abilene prompted evacuations of homes and properties. Smoke from that fire has reached as far as Houston.

Texas A&M Forest Service spokesperson Erin O’Connor says the Abilene fire, known as the Eastland Complex fire, comprises four fires that are being managed as a single blaze by firefighters.

“That includes the Kidd Fire in Eastland County, which is approximately 30,000 acres; and the Oakmont Fire in Brown County, which is approximately 4,500  acres; the Wheat Field fire in Eastland County, which is approximately 5,000 acres; and the Walling Fire in Eastland County, which is 383 acres,” O’Connor told Texas Standard.

The Eastland Comples is 2% contained, and has caused evacuations and road closures in several communities. Officials have not yet released any information about injuries or fatalities.

“It’s a quickly evolving situation,s o we’re still trying to get some eyes on the fire this morning and get a good assessment of what happened overnight,” O’Connor said.

Firefighters are working with local fire departments, as well as state and military agencies. O’Connor says aircraft will fly over the fire areas on Friday, wind conditions permitting.

“Our fire crews last night into this morning were focused on life safety, structure protection and then also trying to construct containment lines where possible,” O’Connor said.

Texas fire danger map

You can find updated fire danger information here.

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