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Rain finally in forecast for Texas areas scorched by fires

Mar 21, 2022, 7:40 AM | Updated: Jun 13, 2022, 3:37 pm
Smoke billows from the Eastland Complex Fire on March 20. (KTVT via CNN)...
Smoke billows from the Eastland Complex Fire on March 20. (KTVT via CNN)
(KTVT via CNN)

EASTLAND, Texas (AP) — Wildfires continued to scorch parts of Texas on Monday, and a storm system moving through could bring much-needed rain but also strong winds, forecasters said.

The fires were already blamed for the deaths of two firefighters — one in Texas and one in Oklahoma. The largest of the fires, known as the Eastland Complex, had burned nearly 85 square miles (220 square kilometers) in an area around 120 miles (193 kilometers) west of Dallas and was 30% contained as of Sunday.

National Weather Service meteorologist Monique Sellers told The Dallas Morning News that about an inch (2.5 centimeters) of rain was predicted Monday in Eastland County.

“The rain will relieve how dry it is in those grassy areas prone to fires,” she said. “Unfortunately, Monday is the only day we’re seeing any rain for the foreseeable future, and the windy days will continue.”

Another fire prompted evacuations of several small towns in Hood County, about 75 miles (121 kilometers) southwest of Dallas. That blaze, known as the Big L fire, had burned about 9 square miles (23 square kilometers) and was 5% contained.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Friday that 50 homes had been destroyed.

In southwest Oklahoma, a firefighter died over the weekend while battling a wildfire, though that blaze has since been contained, officials said. And in Texas, Deputy Sgt. Barbara Fenley died last week while going door-to-door telling residents to evacuate, authorities said.

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Rain finally in forecast for Texas areas scorched by fires