More Fires Break Out in Drought-Stricken Texas/Oklahoma
September 1, 2011 • 10:41AM

Fires have so far engulfed more than 3,500 acres in North Texas, including land that already burned during a devastating spring fire that claimed more than 160 homes. The current fire has already destroyed at least 20 homes, and the flames are threatening more than 125 homes in the Possum Kingdom Lake area about 75 miles west of Fort Worth. Hundreds of people have been evacuated from the area.

In the city of Oklahoma, fire and emergency officials reported that the fire destroyed about 12 homes, a church, and an estimated 1,500 acres in the northeastern part of the city. Several hundred homes were evacuated and more than 7,000 homes and businesses were without power.

A spokesman for the Texas Forest Service said the enemy is the weather. "It's going to be hot and dry and windy." The winds were gusting up to 15 mph. The area is studded with thick cedar and juniper trees that have been sucked dry by months of relentless heat and sun. As a result, he said, "they are just burning explosively."

Authorities do not yet know what caused the fires.