Mar 21, 2022 - Energy & Environment

Deadly Texas wildfires force new evacuations

At least two firefighters in central Texas were injured battling growing wildfires that forced more communities to evacuate Sunday, officials said, per the New York Times.

The big picture: The Eastland Complex Fire, a group of blazes in and around Eastland County, west of the Dallas-Fort Worth area, has killed a sheriff's deputy who was helping people escape and has razed scores of homes, per the NYT.

  • The wildfire has caused hundreds of people to evacuate their homes since last week.
  • It has burned across more than 54,000 acres and was 30% contained late Sunday, according to the InciWeb wildfire information system.

Meanwhile, residents of the city of Lipan, 55 miles west of Fort Worth, were urged to evacuate due to the Big L Fire, which left one firefighter with "superficial burns to the face," the Hood County Sheriff's Office said in a statement on Sunday night. An officer told the NYT two firefighters had been confirmed wounded.

  • This blaze has razed some 11,000 acres and was 10% contained, per the Texas A&M Forest Service.

By the numbers: Seven large fires are burning across Texas, driven by dry and breezy conditions, according to the National Interagency Fire Centre.

  • Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an emergency order in 11 counties last Friday in response to the fire threat.
  • By Sunday, roughly two-thirds of Texas was under "very high" or "extreme' fire-danger conditions — including state capital Austin and Texas second-biggest city, San Antonio.

Context: Human-caused climate change is making fires larger and more intense, Axios' Andrew Freedman writes. Drought conditions in Texas, plus high winds, are helping to create "critical" fire weather conditions through Monday evening in parts of the state.

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