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Sunday Evening Wildfire Update; Evacuation Orders Lifted for Strawn

A Sunday afternoon fire in Clovis, NM has spread, and become a full-fledged wildfire in Eastern New Mexico.  The Clovis News Journal reports that over 3,500 acres have burned over the course of this afternoon.   Some homes and businesses threatened by the fire in Clovis have been evacuated.

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PALO PINTO, Texas (AP) — Hundreds of square miles of rugged, wooded country along the Brazos River in West Texas remain evacuated as a complex of wildfires remain on a rampage about 70 miles west of Fort Worth.

State and local firefighting forces battled the terrain as well as tinder-dry conditions and gusty winds in trying to tame the Palo Pinto County fire complex.

Evacuation orders were lifted around sunset Sunday for the towns of Strawn and Caddo. However, County Judge David Nicklas said they remained Sunday night for areas east and south of Possum Kingdom Reservoir, including the lakeshore development called the Peninsula.

Texas Forest Service spokeswoman Victoria Koenig said Sunday night that the toll of 31 homes destroyed by the Palo Pinto fires as of Saturday evening may climb by more than 20.

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ROBERT LEE, Texas (AP) — Two small West Texas towns appeared to survive a nearby wildfire for another day as reinforced firefighting teams managed to keep a wildfire that threatened Robert Lee and Bronte (BRAWNT) at bay.

But a spokeswoman says the situation remains subject to change in an instant.

The two Coke County towns are about 12 miles apart and about 30 miles north of San Angelo.

C.J. Novell, a spokeswoman for the Southern Area Blue Team of multijurisdictional firefighters, says Bronte was briefly ordered evacuated before the order was canceled.

She says temperatures verging on 100 degrees with lower humidity readings and stiff breezes could mean more trouble Monday. But she says the winds were expected to be a little more westerly and less southerly, which could make them easier to fight.

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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Austin fire officials say rugged, brushy terrain hampered their efforts to control a wildfire that destroyed at least 10 homes, damaged at least 20 others and blackened 75 acres of a southwest Austin neighborhood.

Two big C-130 transport planes are spreading red fire retardant while state helicopters drop buckets of water on hotspots in the smoldering Oak Hill neighborhood.

Fire department spokesman Reggie Tait says the rugged terrain denied firefighters quick access to the fire that was first reported about 2 p.m. Sunday. That allowed gusty southerly winds of 25 mph with gusts to 30 mph.

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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Gov. Rick Perry has appealed to President Barack Obama to declare the state a major disaster area as wildfires strike or threaten all but two of the state’s 254 counties.

A statement issued Sunday by Perry requested the aid in a letter dispatched Saturday afternoon. Perry’s office says more than 7,800 fires across the states have charred more than 1.5 million acres — about 2,400 square miles — while burning 244 homes and threatening more than 8,500 others.

A “major disaster declaration” would make the state eligible for help in responding to and recovering from the emergency.

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