Hundreds have been forced to leave their homes in Texas as wildfires dominate the region (Pictures: AP)
Evacuation orders are in place across parts of central Texas where a massive wildfire has charred over 45,000 acres of land and caused hundreds of residents to evacuate the region.
Several wildfires merged to form what fire officials call a ‘complex,’ which was burning near Eastland, located about 120 miles west of Dallas.
The Eastland Complex fire formed Thursday after a number of other small fires conjoined in Eastland County.
By Friday morning, the fires had burned roughly 62.5 square miles, and only about 4% of the fire was contained, the Texas A&M Forest Service said on Twitter.
Low humidity and gusty winds played a large part in the spreading of the fires, which crews are having trouble containing.
About 18,000 people live in Eastland County, where the largest fire was burning.The fire consumed multiple structures in the town of Ranger, including the police department and a 100-year-old church.
Nearly 500 homes were evacuated in the town of Gorman on Thursday, but officials don’t know yet how many homes and businesses may have burned. Shelters have been opening up across the region to house those who have been displaced.
As tens of thousands of acres burn, the smoke from the fires has moved into the Houston area, according to KHOU 11, bringing poor air quality and a burning odor to the region.
The smoke hitting Houston was caused by winds shifting northwest overnight, sending thick air from the fires into the city.
EPA officials are recommending N95 masks as a way for residents to protect themselves from the smoke and ash.
The orange sky caused by the onslaught of fires was the subject of many social media posts early Friday, and many people had complaints about the smell.
‘We have received a number of reports of a burning smell,’ Sugar Land authorities tweeted. ‘Fire-EMS has found nothing in Sugar Land contributing to the smell. Reports of a burning smell are occurring throughout the Houston region.’
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