Wildfires threaten homes in OK, TX

Fires in the heat-stricken states have burned thousands of acres, destroyed at least 39 homes

OKLAHOMA CITY (UPI) | September 2, 2011


Firefighters are struggling to put out major fires in Texas and Oklahoma that have already charred numerous homes and thousands of acres of land.

In Texas, the Possum Kingdom Lake fire has been halfway contained, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.

Fire officials said the fire burned through a lot of trees and brush early in the week, leaving less to feed the fires by Thursday.

"We're at a point where once those fuels were taken out, the situation changed," said John Nichols, a Texas Forest Service spokesman. "We feel much better about how this fire is behaving."

About 135 firefighters are working to put out the fire, which started Tuesday.

Since it began, the wildfire has burned 6,500 acres of land and has destroyed 39 home and nine vehicles, the Forest Service said.

In northeast Oklahoma City, firefighters are battling fires in triple digit heat, The Oklahoman reported.

"Probably the biggest impact we have right now, apart from the obvious property damage, is going to be the toll it's taken on our available resources," Oklahoma County Emergency Manager David Barnes said. "Having to spend multiple days out in triple-digit heat and low humidity contributes to the fire danger, which is obvious, but it's also very difficult on crews."

The heat is only one of the challenges Oklahoman firefighters are facing.

"It's very difficult," said Oklahoma City fire Lt. Carey Parker. "The access to the fire a lot of times is difficult. You also have a problem with water supply. Our brush pumpers only carry 300 gallons of water, and you run out of that fairly quickly."

Copyright 2011 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.


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