Montgomery Co. firefighters to aid in wildfires

HOUSTON About 10 firefighters from Willis New Waverly, Needham and Porter fire departments left late Friday to head to North Texas, said Shane Howser with the North Montgomery County Fire Department. They expect to stay there for five to seven days.

Howser says the group leaving who left Friday includes a team leader and firefighters driving four booster trucks. The booster trucks are smaller firefighting vehicles than can go off road.

Wildfires are sweeping across hundreds of thousands of acres in Texas and destroyed dozens of homes. One firefighter has died, hundreds of people have evacuated.

Fire officials said late Friday that the blazes spanned about 655 square miles of parched grasslands, fueled by strong winds.

A 20,000-acre fire destroyed about 30 homes as it burned around Possum Kingdom Lake, a popular recreation spot about 120 miles west of Dallas.

Three large fires burning in Wichita County, about 150 miles northwest of Dallas, had destroyed about 30 homes. A military housing complex near Sheppard Air Force Base was evacuated for two hours but no buildings were damaged.

Authorities say Eastland firefighter Gregory M. Simmons died while battling a separate 3,000-acre blaze. No other injuries have been reported but several towns have been evacuated.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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