Thousands of Acres Burn Across Texas

There is a critical wildfire danger for North, Central and South Texas.

The Texas Forest Service responded to nine fires Thursday, four of those were still being staffed Friday. More than five thousand acres were burned across the state.

The heightened danger is due to strong winds, low humidity and dry vegetation.

In west Texas, about 3,000 acres have been scorched by a grass fire at Rhodes Ranch near Abilene.

At least 14 volunteer fire departments are trying to contain the fire which started Thursday afternoon.

Authorities are now notifying people residents in the path of the fire to evacuate their homes.

Shelters have been set up for displaced residents. Also, the Salvation Army in Abilene is offering assistance.

The Texas Forest Service says the fire is threatening a dozen buildings.

A discarded cigarette is being blamed for igniting a wildfire in Bell County. The 372 acre blaze east of Salado is 85 percent contained.

Firefighters also were battling a 300 acre fire in nearby Shackleford County and a 300-acre blaze along the Llano and San Saba county line northwest of Austin.

"Our goal is to get a handle on these fires and be ready to respond because we're expecting another peak day tomorrow (saturday), particularly across Central Texas, the Hill Country, the I-35 corridor, even stretching into the Bryan/College Station area," Don Galloway with the Texas Forest Service said.

In Texas, people cause 95 percent of wildfires. The Texas Forest Service says residents should not engage in activities, such as throwing out lit cigarettes, welding and burning debris, that could lead to an accidental wildfire start.

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