Large wildfires in Eastland County Texas prompt evacuations

Strong winds are causing the Eastland Complex of fires to spread rapidly

Map of Eastland Complex of fires in Texas
Map of Eastland Complex of fires in Texas at 6 a.m. March 18, 2022.

Dry, windy weather has created conditions in West Texas that has allowed multiple wildfires to spread across tens of thousands of acres. Several of the largest blazes are in Eastland County 45 miles east-southeast of Abilene. The passage of a cold front Thursday afternoon caused the fires to spread to the southeast as 15 to 25 mph winds recorded at a weather station near Eastland began gusting out of the northwest at 28 to 35 mph while the relative humidity dropped as low as 7 percent.

To see all articles on Wildfire Today about the Eastland Complex of fires in Texas, including the most recent, click here:

For management purposes the Texas Forest Service has grouped four of the incidents into what they are calling the Eastland Complex which has burned approximately 45,000 acres.

Eastland Complex of fire, near Carbon, Texas
Eastland Complex of fires, near Carbon, Texas March 17, 2022. Texas Forest Service photo by M. Leathers.

The 36,000-acre Kidd Fire south of Eastland burned through Carbon March 17, heavily impacting structures. Evacuations and road closures are in effect in Carbon, Lake Leon, Gorman, and outlying rural areas.

The Wheatfield Fire northeast of Cross Plains has burned about 5,000 acres. Thursday it started moving in the direction of Rising Star after the passage of the cold front, but crews were able to stop its forward progression.

The Oak Mott Fire has blackened approximately 5,000 acres southwest of Rising Star.

The Walling Fire northeast of Cross Plains was mapped at 382 acres and is nearly officially contained.

A fire not in the Complex is the 586-acre Mariah Ridge Fire south of Cross Plains.

The weather forecast indicates conditions suitable for continued fire spread. On Friday the northwest winds will continue at 21 mph gusting in the 30s, but slowing to 8 mph by sundown and dropping to 2 to 5 mph Friday night. The Friday afternoon relative humidity will be in the low 20s with a high temperature of 63. On Saturday firefighters can expect a wind shift out of the southwest and south at 9 to 11 mph gusting around 20 with 75 degrees and 16 percent RH.

Multiple highway closures are in effect due to extreme fire behavior. See for the latest in closure information.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

5 thoughts on “Large wildfires in Eastland County Texas prompt evacuations”

  1. The first fire I ever fought was just north of Rising Star, in the late 1940’s. I know (or knew) the county pretty well.

  2. Seems we don’t take time to honor true heroes until it’s too late. Every day, every time and every chance I get I tell a Firefighter THANK YOU. Since so many were lost saving my coworkers on 9/11 I’ve gone out of my way to let you know just how Very Special all of you are. Thank you. Thank you for then, thank you for saving Eastland. You and your friends and family have my undying love and respect. God bless you all

  3. Air tankers don’t put out fires (?) It has always amazed me that with the BILLIONS of dollars spent for everything in and out of the United States, that the taxpayers of Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas are not given the same aerial assesses as the West. Understand there are TWO large air tankers (3000 gallon) flying around somewhere (if not on days off) assisting fire fighters on the ground on these fires. The magnitude of these fires, success in protecting life, livestock and property is measured by one defensive action at a time. Not talking about a single residence but entire communities that are at risk of destruction. We have seen the successful application of retardant in advance of a wildfire moving into a community. This suppression action has been achieved by very large airtankers (DC10 and 747) when time and distance to apply a (retardant line) is critical.

    1. There were 3 LAT’s by Wednesday, but with 35 -50 knot winds and crosswinds, no aircraft at all were able to fly Thursday when the wind event set up. All week steady 20-25 knot winds proved on several fires that natural barriers (plowed fields, mostly) were about the only thing stopping these fires at the head. Tankers were effective in flanking, with hard working fire fighters with engines and dozers. Thursday’s event…about all the ground crews could even do was watch, and help evacuees. It’s similar to 2011. Still windy today (Friday) but aircraft did help make progress.

  4. Always thinking of and praying for all firefighters — wildland or structure — as they go about their heroic careers!! They run in when everyone else is running out. Take care of yourselves my brothers and sisters and be safe!! Thank you for all you do!! ❤️❤️‍?❤️


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