Firefighters battle raging Tx fires

It is one of the worst outbreaks of wildfires in the state's history

FORT DAVIS, Texas (UPI) | April 11, 2011


Firefighters from 25 states battled more than a dozen wildfires that had burned about 400 square miles across Texas by Monday morning, officials said.

No deaths or injuries were reported early Monday, officials said.

A fast-moving fire in Presidio and Jeff Davis counties, 200 miles southeast of El Paso, burned more than 60,000 acres and destroyed about 40 homes in Fort Davis before raging north and east, officials said.

Grayish smoke shot so high it created its own weather system, with puffy white cumulus clouds forming at the top of the smoke towers, the Austin American-Statesman reported.

The blaze missed the University of Texas's McDonald Observatory near Fort Davis, which took in evacuees from a state park 15 miles away, the newspaper said.

Two dozen departments from the Dallas-Fort Worth area sent reinforcements to other parts of the state, The Dallas Morning News reported.

On Saturday afternoon, the fire in Presidio County damaged a railroad bridge near Marfa and held up an Amtrak passenger train for 18 hours, the Texas Forest Service told the San Antonio Express-News.

The bridge was fixed around 9 a.m. Sunday and reopened, Amtrak spokesman Steve Kulm said.

Other fires still being fought included a 71,000-acre blaze in Stonewall, King and Knox counties, a 60,000-acre fire scorching Potter and Moore counties and a 16,000-acre blaze in Midland County, officials said.

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