A fast-moving wildfire borne by gusty westerly winds forced evacuation Monday afternoon of a nearby subdivision and school and closed two heavily traveled interstate highways in North Texas.
Firefighters battled through the afternoon to gain control of the fire, which left 1,000 acres scorched by the time Parker County Judge Mark Riley declared it 85 percent contained just before sunset. Riley said no structures were damaged and no injuries were reported.
At its peak, the fire sent columns of thick smoke visible for miles, closing about 15 miles of Interstates 20 and 30 from Willow Park to the western outskirts of Fort Worth. That smoke could be detected as far as 50 miles to the southeast.
Fire line established along Walsh Ranch rd. Fire contained along the East side. pic.twitter.com/izFvC25nZT
— Fort Worth Fire Dept (@FortWorthFire) January 22, 2018
The highways reopened as the afternoon commute was getting underway.
Aledo ISD evacuated Walsh and McCall elementary schools, the Dallas Morning News reported.
The National Weather Service had issued a red-flag warning for Monday as westerly winds gusting up to 35 mph combined with dry humidity for a high risk of wildfires throughout North Texas. However, weather forecasters say they expect the wind gusts to diminish overnight, raising hopes for a diminished wildfire risk.
The combination of gusty northwesterly winds & minimum relative humidities in the teens & 20s will result in elevated fire weather conditions today along & west of a Gainesville to Hillsboro line. #dfwwx #ctxwx #texomawx pic.twitter.com/IgbM8f4MDi
— NWS Fort Worth (@NWSFortWorth) January 22, 2018
Other wildfires were scattered throughout North Texas, some threatening homes. Officials had no immediate word on injuries, however.
Denton County: A fire in Flower Mound, at the northeast corner of FM1171 and U.S. Highway 377, started Monday morning, and after burning about 200 acres was reported under control around 3 p.m.
#BREAKING: Several agencies are assisting to contain a large grass fire that has burned almost 100 acres in Denton County near Argyle, officials said. https://t.co/KqU7sJY70l pic.twitter.com/Zx9YvKTVrs
— NBC DFW (@NBCDFW) January 22, 2018
Parker County: A fire near State Highway 199 and Ross Lane also forced evacuations.
Grayson County: A fire destroyed one vacant home and a vehicle, but firefighters were able to save several other homes, according to the Morning News. It was 95 percent contained at 14.5 acres.
More: "Fires also were reported near I-20 and East Bankhead Drive in Weatherford, along Nash-Howard Road in Ellis County, near Old Decatur Road and County Road 2372 north of Decatur, and near County Roads 3657 and 3673 in Wise County," according to the Morning News.
— NWS Fort Worth (@NWSFortWorth) January 23, 2018