Evacuations underway in Hood, Erath counties

By Bethany Blankley

As wildfires continue to tear through rural communities, thousands of acres of farmland and hundred-year old homesteads in central Texas, residents were ordered to evacuate in Hood and Erath counties on Sunday. In Hood County, the entire city of Lipan was ordered to evacuate “immediately” at 5 p.m., the National Weather Service-DFW announced.

“Residents in the city of Lipan in northwestern Hood County are asked to evacuate due to a rapidly spreading wildfire,” the evacuation order states. “The main evacuation route is east on Highway 4 (Lipan Highway). This wildfire is located on the border of Erath County and Hood County and is spreading north/northwestward.”

Two firefighters were injured Sunday attempting to fight the fire at the county line, KTVT-TV reported.

Hood County, located on the Edwards Plateau, is part of the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington metropolitan statistical area. Erath County to its west is where two of North America's largest renewable natural gas plants are located. Their combined populations are roughly 100,000 people.

A fire erupted Sunday around 1:30 p.m., initially burning 3,000 acres with only 5% of it contained, the Texas A&M Fire Service reported. As of 7 pm, the Big L Fire in Erath and Hood counties was an estimated 6,000 acres and 5% contained.

“Aviation continue to work with ground crews to slow the spread of the fire and protect structures in the area,” the fire service reported.

There’s also a Temporary Flight Restriction in place for the area over the Big L Fire.

“Flying drones within or near wildfires could cause injury or death to firefighters,” Texas A&M Fire Service warns.

As of 6 p.m., the Wells 2 Fire in Archer County had burned 300 acres and was 0% contained, Texas A&M Fire Service reported. An hour later, it had spread to 500 acres and was 50% contained.

"Single engine air tankers made several beneficial drops of retardant to slow the fire spread,” the fire service said.

There are four emergency shelter locations in the Hood County seat of Granbury: First Christian Church at 2109 West Highway 377; First United Methodist Church at 301 Loop 567; The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at 1226 Ross Lane; and the YMCA at 1475 James Road.

On Friday, Gov. Greg Abbott issued a disaster declaration for 11 counties three weeks after wildfires began in parts of central Texas.

The National Weather Service reports that western and central Texas remain under an elevated fire risk due to high winds, low humidity,\ and drought conditions.

There are currently 132 counties with outdoor burn bans in effect, according to the Texas A&M Forest Service.

The Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) is encouraging residents affected by the wildfires to report damaged property to their insurance companies and also through the state’s Individual State of Texas Assessment Tool (iSTAT) survey: damage.tdem.texas.gov.

Reporting damage through iSTAT is voluntary, not a substitute for reporting damage to insurance companies, and doesn’t guarantee disaster relief assistance, TDEM states.

The agency encourages Texans “to remain weather aware and heed warnings of local officials this week as critical fire weather continues, winter weather is forecast in the Panhandle, and severe spring storms are expected to impact large portions of North, Central, and East Texas on Monday.”

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post