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UPDATED: Wildfires Scorch Over 100,000 Texas Acres

9:45am Update

Just after 9:30 this morning, the City of Lubbock announced that it has deactivated its Emergency Operations Center.  No NWS watches or warnings are in effect for the South Plains today.

8am Update, Monday February 28

AMARILLO, Texas (AP) _ Wildfires have burned more than 110,000 acres and destroyed nearly 70 homes after a dry, windy day in West Texas.   Texas Forest Service spokesman Lewis Kearney (KAR’-nee) says the agency’s firefighting aircraft, which were grounded Sunday due to the strong winds, are expected to fly Monday.

Kearney says 68 homes have been destroyed, with 10 in Colorado City and the rest in the Amarillo area. He says firefighters had a “busy night,” and that there is still a high risk of fire in the Midland, Abilene, Panhandle and Lubbock areas.   A traffic accident on the smoke-blanketed Interstate 20 near Midland killed a 5-year-old girl on Sunday. One firefighter suffered second-degree burns in a blaze near Colorado City, about 250 miles west of Dallas.

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Sunday, 9:15pm Update

DALLAS (AP) — About 20 homes have burned in several Panhandle subdivisions as wildfires plague parts of the Panhandle and South Plains of Texas.

Texas Forest Service spokesman Lewis Kearney says two wildfires joined about five miles south of Amarillo to destroy or damage the almost two dozen homes this afternoon.

About 90 miles to the southeast, the town of Matador has been ordered evacuated as a wildfire bears down on the small Texas South Plains town. Motley County Judge Jim Meador says at least two homes have burned in the town of about 650 residents.

A wildfire has prompted the evacuation of the southeastern part of Borger, about 40 miles northeast of Amarillo. But Borger Emergency Management Coordinator Danny Richards says the imminent threat eased as of nightfall.

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Update at 8:45pm, Sunday February 27, 2011

Potter County (Amarillo) has issued a Local Area Emergency because of a wildfire northeast of Amarillo.

BULLETIN – EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED

LOCAL AREA EMERGENCY

AMARILLO POTTER RANDALL OFFICE OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT

RELAYED BY NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE AMARILLO TX

836 PM CST SUN FEB 27 2011

THE FOLLOWING MESSAGE IS TRANSMITTED AT THE REQUEST OF THE

AMARILLO…POTTER…RANDALL OFFICE OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT.

THE NORTHEAST AMARILLO FIRE WILL SHIFT DIRECTIONS AS A COLD FRONT MOVES THROUGH THE AREA. THIS CHANGE IN DIRECTION WILL THREATEN THE AREAS BETWEEN STATE HIGHWAY 136 AND INTERSTATE 40 IN EASTERN PORTIONS OF POTTER COUNTY BETWEEN 930 PM AND 1100 PM. RESIDENTS LOCATED IN THIS AREA ARE URGED TO BE PREPARED FOR QUICK ACTION IF THIS FIRE THREATENS YOUR LOCATION.
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Extremely dry conditions and winds of over 60mph sparked grass and wildfires across the South Plains and Texas Panhandle on Sunday.  The joint Lubbock County- City of Lubbock Emergency Operations center was put into action most of the day Sunday because of the fire danger.  In addition to the fires and high winds, blowing dust was also an impediment to firefighters on Sunday.

The town of Matador, in Motley County, was evacuated Sunday afternoon as a wildfire damaged several homes.  Also, several areas of Randall Country were forced to evacuate as well because of wildfires.

Three homes were destroyed in Hockley County as two wildfires broke out three miles west of Levelland.  An estimated 5,000 acres of land were burned.

In Lubbock, winds as high as 50mph downed power lines, trees,  light standards in parking lots and contributed to two houses being burned down in central Lubbock.  Around 12:30p Sunday afternoon a fire broke out at the corner of 45th and Dover Avenue. The two alarm blaze burned down two homes and affected others in the area.  An on-site investigation determined the initial cause of the fire was arcing of a power line that caused sparks.

As of 7:45p, Sunday evening, the following Fire Warnings were still in effect:

BULLETIN – EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED

FIRE WARNING

TEXAS EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY LUBBOCK TEXAS

RELAYED BY NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE LUBBOCK TX

618 PM CST SUN FEB 27 2011

THE FOLLOWING MESSAGE IS TRANSMITTED AT THE REQUEST OF THE MOTLEY COUNTY JUDGE.

RESIDENTS OF THE CITY OF MATADOR SHOULD EVACUATE TO THE MOTLEY

COUNTY ISD SCHOOL CAMPUS…LOCATED AT 1600 BUNDY IN MATADOR. A

VERY LARGE AND DAMAGING WILDFIRE CONTINUES TO THREATEN MATADOR.

HIGHWAY 62/70 HAS BEEN CLOSED WEST OF THE CITY OF MATADOR.

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BULLETIN – EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED

FIRE WARNING…CORRECTED

AMARILLO/POTTER/RANDALL OFFICE OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT

RELAYED BY NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE AMARILLO TX

456 PM CST SUN FEB 27 2011

THE FOLLOWING MESSAGE IS TRANSMITTED AT THE REQUEST OF THE

AMARILLO…POTTER AND RANDALL OFFICE OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT.

SEVERAL WILDFIRES ARE THREATENING THE FOLLOWING LOCATIONS: RICHLAND ACRES AND RANCH ACRES…AND THEN ALSO FOR TIMBERCREEK CANYON… PALISADES…TANGLE AIRE…AND LAKE TANGLEWOOD. IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT RESIDENTS EVACUATE THE RIVER FALLS AREA OF RANDALL COUNTY. RESIDENTS SHOULD EVACUATE IMMEDIATELY.

RESIDENTS EVACUATING THE WILDFIRES IN THE WILLOW CREEK AREA SHOULD REPORT TO THE RECEIVING POINT AT THE PLEASANT VALLEY METHODIST CHURCH AT 316 VALLEY. THE RECEIVING POINT FOR THOSE RESIDENTS EVACUATING FROM THE SOUTH WILDFIRES IS THE COWBOY CHURCH AT WASHINGTON STREET AND LOOP 335…HOLLYWOOD ROAD.

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