Updated at 9:31 a.m. CT March 20, 2022
Saturday night the Texas Forest Service released the sizes of the four wildfires in the Eastland Complex :
Kidd Fire 42,333 acres
Oak Mott Fire 4,031 acres
Wheat Field Fire 7,268 acres
Walling Fire 383 acres
TOTAL: 54,015 acres
The Dallas Morning News reported Saturday that 86 homes and a majority of the small town of Carbon, Texas, were destroyed.
The video below illustrates why the recent fires in Texas have been difficult to stop.
Yesterday, Texas A&M Forest Service responded to 10 wildfires that burned 52,708 acres across the state. Strong winds, critically dry grasses contributed to extreme fire behavior and rapid spread.
? Extreme fire behavior observed on the Eastland Complex in Eastland County, 3/17 pic.twitter.com/9ZBJu1ObPs
— Incident Information – Texas A&M Forest Service (@AllHazardsTFS) March 18, 2022
Updated 1:14 p.m. CT March 19, 2022
At least 50 homes have been destroyed by wildfires that broke out in the Eastland County area this week, Gov. Greg Abbott said during a news conference Friday at the Eastland Volunteer Fire Department.
The Governor presented a Texas flag to a relative of Sergeant Barbara Fenley of the Eastland County Sheriff’s Office who was killed while evacuating residents from the fires.
“While evacuating people and going door-to-door, Fenley was last heard that she was going to check on an elderly individual,” a statement from the Sheriff’s office read. “With the extreme deteriorating conditions and low visibility from smoke, Sgt. Fenley ran off the roadway and was engulfed in the fire. Sgt. Fenley gave her life in the service of others and loved her community.”
To see all articles on Wildfire Today about the Eastland Complex of fires in Texas, including the most recent, click here: https://wildfiretoday.com/tag/eastland-complex/
The Fort Worth Police Officers Association wrote on their Facebook page, “Sergeant Fenley had served with the Eastland County Sheriff’s Office for nine years and had previously served with the Gorman Police Department for 10 years, including six years as the police chief.”
Four fires 40 to 45 miles east-southeast of Abilene, Texas primarily in Eastland County have burned at least 45,000 acres; unofficial reports put it at more than 53,000. For administrative purposes the Texas Forest Service has grouped them into the Eastland Complex of fires.
The acreages below were provided at 11 a.m. CT, March 19 by Angel Lopez Portillo, a spokesperson for the fires.
The Kidd Fire, approximately 34,000 acres, south of Eastland burned through Carbon March 17, heavily impacting structures. On Friday there was increased activity on the southern portion of the fire. Ground crews, dozers, motor graders, and aircraft worked on hotspots. Engine crews were focused on mop up operations around structures. Ground resources will continue building containment lines around the fire perimeter Saturday.
The Wheatfield Fire northeast of Cross Plains has burned an estimated 5,000 acres. There was increased activity Friday, but ground and aviation resources were able to work hotpots. There is currently no threat to the community of Rising Star. On Saturday resources will focus on constructing, widening, and improving containment lines.
The Oak Mott Fire has blackened 5,252 acres southwest of Rising Star in Comanche and Brown Counties. It is completely contained.
The Walling Fire northeast of Cross Plains was mapped at 383 acres and is contained.
A fire not in the Complex is the 586-acre Mariah Ridge Fire south of Cross Plains in Brown and Callahan Counties. It has not grown in the last 24 hours.
Other unconfirmed reports put the Kidd Fire at 41,000 acres, and the Wheat Field Fire at more than 6,000 acres.
Mr. Portillo said that in addition to firefighters on the ground, resources working on the fires include three single engine air tankers, two National Guard Blackhawk helicopters, a National Guard Chinook helicopter, another large Type 1 helicopter, and three large fixed wing air tankers.
The wind on the fires decreased Friday and on Saturday will be out of the southwest at 8 to 12 mph, and like on Friday will be moderate enough to allow aircraft to assist firefighters on the ground. The relative humidity will drop Saturday afternoon into the mid-teens under clear skies with a high of 77 degrees. A Fire Weather Watch has been issued for Western Texas on Sunday. The strong winds will be back in the fire area, 20 mph out of the south and southeast gusting to 28 mph with relative humidity in the mid-teens. Rain is in the forecast for Monday.