"Crews Battle Wildfires Amid Severe Texas Drought"

"LUBBOCK, Texas – Firefighters battled Monday to contain several large blazes that have burned hundreds of square miles of rural Texas and destroyed dozens of homes since last week, getting reinforcements from out of state as they struggled against some of the worst wildfire conditions in state history.

Powerful winds that sent walls of flame through parched ranchland in and around the West Texas communities of Fort Davis and Midland, incinerating more than 60 homes during the weekend and killing livestock and horses, took pity by directing the fires to largely unpopulated open spaces north and east of the cities.

An overnight thunderstorm — a rare occurrence of late, with the state coming off its driest March since 1895 — gave crews the break they needed to begin containing a wildfire that had scorched about 110 square miles of rolling prairies about 175 miles west of Fort Worth."

Betsy Blaney reports for the Associated Press April 11, 2011.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011