It’s been a historically bad week for Texas, with roaring wildfires scorching multiple areas of the Lonestar State. The uncontrollable fires have already claimed the lives of two first responders and destroyed at least 50 homes. Thankfully, however, rain is finally in the forecast for Texas – but will it be enough to quell the raging wildfires?
In an interview with the Dallas Morning News, National Weather Service meteorologist Monique Sellers said that Eastland County could expect about an inch of rain on Monday. That said, the rain could also bring in strong winds that worsen the flames. And the meager inch of rain stands as the only wet weather on the forecast.
“The rain will relieve how dry it is in those grassy areas prone to fires,” Sellers said. “Unfortunately, Monday is the only day we’re seeing any rain for the foreseeable future, and the windy days will continue.”
More than 42k acres burned in the #EastlandComplex fire (between Abilene & Ft. worth) — hundreds of homes evacuated. There are other wildfires as well. This video from Carbon, Texas@LiveStormsMedia @MichaelBeardWX pic.twitter.com/353l4Dq2ru— Ginger Zee (@Ginger_Zee) March 18, 2022
Any rain is a positive. However, with four wildfires burning over 54,000 acres in a single weekend, Texas could certainly use more of it.
The largest of the fires, known as the Eastland Complex, scorched an 85-square mile stretch of land west of Dallas. As of Sunday, only 30% of the Eastland Complex was contained. Another fire, known as the Big L, has burned 9 square miles of land but is only 5% contained.
Texas Governor Honors Firefighters Who Died Fighting Wildfires
The towns affected by the wildfires have done an excellent job evacuating their citizens. As such, the current death toll for normal citizens rests at zero, despite the wildfires destroying entire towns across Texas. Unfortunately, however, such an achievement doesn’t come without risk. And those who put themselves in harm’s way in service of others paid the price.
Two brave first responders, April Partridge and Barbara Fenley, died while assisting others in their community. April Partridge, a member of Edgewater Park’s volunteer fire department, became separated from her vehicle while battling the wildfires. Partridge’s cause of death hasn’t been confirmed. However, officials presume her demise to be a result of the fires.
Sadly, the flames claimed the life of Deputy Sgt. Barbara Fenley as well. The officer was going door to door helping others to evacuate when the wildfires caught her. In a statement released by the Eastland County Sheriff’s Department, Fenley’s coworkers praised the fallen hero. “While evacuating people and going door-to-door, Fenley [said] she was going to check on an elderly individual,” the statement read.
“With the extreme deteriorating conditions and low visibility from smoke, Sgt. Fenley ran off the roadway and was engulfed in the fire. Sgt. Fenley gave her life in the service of others and loved her community.”
Texas Governor Greg Abbott presented her sister-in-law, Anna Olvera, with a folded flag from the state capitol. Additionally, Abbott asked flag owners across the state to lower them to half-staff in Fenley’s honor, adding, “We will never forget her sacrifice.”