Grass Fires Level Homes

12-27-05 - Grass fires erupted across the area on Tuesday, scorching acres and destroying homes in several counties. Massive fires are still burning near Sadler, Texas and Boswell, Oklahoma tonight.

Rural areas between Callisburg and Sadler along with Grayson/Cooke county line were subject to several powerful brush fires. By Tuesday night, some residents were evacuated into a temporary shelter at the Callisburg High School.

Earlier Tuesdya, the mayor of Colbert declared a state of emergency in his city. He said there are so many fires that his volunteer department was overwhelmed, and he asked for support from neighboring communities in Bryan County. Neigboring Achille has seen some of the worst damage - several homes there were destroyed or damaged by fire.

Carter County officials fought back flames between Lone Grove and Ardmore earlier today, after a tractor sparked a fire.

Firefighters in Marshall County focused their efforts on fires in the Sandy Beach area near Lake Texoma. They shut down several roads near Enos, and detained six suspects amid concerns that the fires were intentionally set. But by Tuesday night, those six people had been released and the fires were brought under control.

Smoke from a grass fire limited visibility along Interstate 35, forcing authorities to close the road near Pauls Valley between Oklahoma Highways 19 and 29 in Garvin County.

At least three people suffered minor injuries and several homes were destroyed in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area earlier today. The suburb of Mustang was one of the hardest-hit areas, with five homes destroyed and 400 acres charred.

In the Tulsa area, firefighters battled at least a dozen blazes. Three homes and a barn were destroyed in the Oakhurst area and one barn was destroyed. Officials say one of the homes was vacant.

In Texas, Governor Rick Perry issued a disaster declaration as more than 70 wildfires blazed around the state.

Perry's office said 73 fires were being fought as of yesterday, mostly in North and Central Texas.

Perry ordered the deployment of Texas Army National Guard assets and requested assistance from the US Forest Service.

Thick white smoke rose above Kennedale, a bedroom community of
about 6,100 people just south of Fort Worth. Television footage showed homes damaged, outbuildings in flames and residents spraying hoses and dumping buckets of water at the fire.

North Texas was under a National Weather Service "red flag
warning," meaning unusually warm and windy conditions could send
such blazes spreading rapidly.