Drought-parched grass fuels fire in Dallas-area neighborhood

·2 min read

BALCH SPRINGS, Texas (AP) — A grass fire apparently sparked on the shoulder of a freeway swept about 300 yards across tinder-dry open field to a suburban Dallas subdivision Monday, burning through wooden fences and torching a row of at least eight homes on the subdivision’s edge.

The blaze was the latest in drought-stricken North Texas, which has been vulnerable to explosive wildfires for at least two weeks .

It was initially unclear what sparked the fire just off Interstate 20 in Balch Springs about 4 p.m. Monday. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

Aerial video showed the fire spread up and down the street as firefighters and homeowners working in 103-degree heat tried to prevent the fire from spreading to more of the bricked frame homes. One end of the fire spread to a home where a panicked dog ran back and forth before running through a pet door at a neighboring home. The dog's fate was not immediately known.

Fire crews from Dallas and other nearby suburbs have gone to the scene to assist Balch Springs crews.

Firefighting teams have thrown dozens of extra crew members into the fight over the weekend against a North Texas wildfire that has destroyed 16 homes and damaged five others, officials said Monday.

The crews have held the Chalk Mountain Fire effects in check at 10 1/2 square miles (27 1/4 square kilometers) since last week, according to the Southern Area Blue, Type-I Incident Management Team.

Team leaders say they have added 126 firefighters and extra fire engines and bulldozers to the 190 already clearing fire lines over the weekend 50 miles (80 kilometers) southwest of Fort Worth, expanding the containment from 10% to 20%.

Meantime, firefighters are mopping up the Possum Kingdom Lake fire that destroyed five homes 70 miles (112 kilometers) west of Fort Worth. That fire is now 95% contained, team leaders said Monday.

The Associated Press

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