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Wildfires scorch rural Texas

Eleven people are dead and 700,000 acres are charred after one of the worst wildfire outbreaks in Texas history.

BY SUSAN KIM | BALTIMORE | March 14, 2006

Eleven people are dead and 700,000 acres are charred after one of the worst wildfire outbreaks in Texas history.

Nearly 2,000 people have been evacuated from the towns of Hoover, Lefors, McLean, Miami, Old Mobeetie, New Mobeetie, Skellytown and Wheeler. Local churches have been opening as shelters throughout the affected areas.

Homes were burned in the community of Texroy, in Hutchinson County, some 40 miles northeast of Amarillo. Other rural residents lost homes as well, fire officials said, but no firm numbers were available by Tuesday afternoon. People may have lost homes throughout the rural counties of Collinsworth, Wheeler, Carson, Hutchinson, Donley and Gray, fire officials estimated.

Nearly two percent of the state's land mass has burned.

On Tuesday air-tankers dumped fire retardant on the blazes, which have been fueled by ongoing dry weather in the drought-stricken state. Dry conditions were continuing. Winds were lighter but still gusting to 20 mph.

Some 455,000 acres in Texas burned in December and January.

Meanwhile, in southeastern New Mexico, firefighters were able to contain a 92,000-acre blaze that burned two homes and forced 200 people to evacuate.


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