Texas wildfires: Some Texas wildfire evacuees return home to find little

A family in Carbon, Eastland County found only ash and rubble when they returned home. Debbie Copeland posted a video on Facebook sharing what she saw when she returned early Friday: nothing but the sidewalk of the house. His family said Affiliated with CNN WFAA they had lived in the house for more than two decades.

A neighbor also lost her home, the branch reported.

The Eastland Complex Fire grew to more than 45,380 acres by late Friday afternoon, according to the Texas A&M Forest Service. The fire was 10% under control at the time, the service noted.
The complex is among multiple wildfires burning areas across the state in windy and dry conditions. The forest service noted it responded to 10 wildfires on Thursday, with more than 52,700 acres burned across Texas. Earlier in the week, Governor Greg Abbott led emergency management officials to tap into more resources to help tackle fire hazards.

Winds in central Texas are expected to ease on Saturday, but will likely strengthen again on Sunday, CNN meteorologist Gene Norman said. But rain forecast for Monday could help put down the remaining blazes.

The Eastland complex, a combination of four fires in the middle of the state, triggered evacuation orders in parts of Eastland, Brown and Comanche counties a day earlier. Residents of those communities were allowed to return home Friday, Forest Service spokesperson Angel Lopez told CNN Friday afternoon.

Parts of Texas are under
The carbon structures have been ‘heavily impacted’ Thursday afternoon as one of the four blazes – the Kidd Fire – passed, officials said in an update earlier Friday on the national Inciweb forest fire information system. Thursday evening, around 475 households were evacuated in Gorman, also in Eastland County.

“Evacuations and road closures in Carbon, Lake Leon and Gorman, and outlying rural areas are ongoing,” the update said. The Kidd Fire, by far the largest of the four at the complex, started Thursday and charred about 33,000 acres. He was 1% contained on Friday.

In the small town of Ranger, about 10 miles northeast of Eastland, a church and several downtown buildings burned Thursday, affiliate KTVT reported.

“I’ve been a fire chief here for 40 years and when you have something like that…it hurts. It hurts the whole community,” Rangers Fire Department Chief Darrell Fox said. “This church was there for 100 years.”

At least one other complex fire, the Oak Mott Fire, burned near the town of Rising Star, according to Friday’s Inciweb update. There were “several reports of structures saved through the efforts of responders”, the update noted.
A woman waits for her companions to collect their belongings from their home Thursday as an Abilene police officer checks to see if other people are evacuating a trailer park.
Crews had requested air support to help fight the fires, WFAA announced Friday morning. Aviation crews were available to help, but high winds were likely to keep them grounded from time to time, the Forest Service said.
The forest service also says By early Friday morning, another fire in neighboring Runnels and Coleman counties had burned about 7,500 acres and was 80% contained.
The Coleman Fire Department said early Friday morning that Route 153, which was previously closed to incoming traffic from non-emergency personnel, has been reopened and residents can return home, urging those going back to “staying alert and aware”.

State Department of Transportation officials also asked residents of Runnels and Coleman counties “to avoid the area from Carbon to Gorman to Lake Leon to allow access for first responders, so that they can work to control/extinguish this wildfire that has closed” parts of Highway 6.

CNN’s Amanda Musa, Melissa Alonso, Joe Sutton and Andy Rose contributed to this report.

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