Crews make progress in containing massive Texas wildfire

Mar 22, 2022, 6:36 AM | Updated: 7:05 am

EASTLAND, Texas (AP) — Firefighting crews were making progress containing a massive Texas wildfire that was blamed for last week’s death of a deputy, officials said.

The Eastland Complex has burned about 85 square miles (220 square kilometers) since a series of fires broke out last week in an area 120 miles (193 kilometers) west of Dallas. The fires were about 60% contained as of Monday night, up from 30% containment a day before, according to Texas A&M Forest Service.

The fire has burned 147 structures so far and led to the death of Deputy Sgt. Barbara Fenley, who died while going door-to-door telling residents to evacuate, officials said.

“The extreme conditions present across the state last week, greatly impacted several communities and the Texans that live there,” said Wes Moorehead, Texas A&M Forest Service Fire Chief. “These communities endured significant loss and we grieve with you.”

In Ranger, Texas, a man was arrested over the weekend on felony arson charges in connection with a fire that destroyed several structures, including a 103-year-old church, police said.

Overall, crews have responded to 178 wildfires that have burned nearly 170 square miles (440 square kilometers) statewide since last Thursday, officials said.

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Crews make progress in containing massive Texas wildfire