Three firefighters and two brush trucks from Fort Worth are heading to the Texas Panhandle, where massive wildfires have killed at least four people and burned more than 400,000 acres of land.
Lamesa Fire Chief Larry Duyck started getting messages around 2 o'clock Tuesday morning about a possible fire in the county, since residents were reporting a strong smell of smoke in the air. The deaths were confirmed by Gray County Justice of the Peace Joe Martinez. His body was located near his auto, according to the Lipscomb County Sheriff's Office. Authorities have yet to formally identify the body.
"He was 25 years old and a soon to be Daddy".
The fire continued to burn well into the afternoon according to the Texas A&M Forest Service dispatch page, with about 135,000 acres burned as of 7 p.m. Tuesday.
Texas A&M Forest Service spokesman Phillip Truitt says the four were hurt Monday as one fire intensified near Amarillo and another larger one spread in the far northeast corner of the Panhandle near the Oklahoma border.
The Dumas Complex Fire, in Potter County near Amarillo, ignited amid humidity values in the single digits and winds gusting in excess of 50 miles per hour.
The Texas A&M Forest Service and the National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center forecast that winds, which help stoke the wildfires, will subside on Wednesday. A Potter County judge ordered mandatory evacuations of the area Monday evening, and 71 homes - as well as several businesses - were evacuated, according to Capt. John Coffee with the Potter County Sheriff's Office.
The fire has burned 100,000 thousand acres but is now 75 percent contained. While no homes were reported lost in this fire, the blaze almost missed the Pantex Nuclear Plant and threatened 150 homes at one point.