News / USA

    Worst Fires on Record Ravage Texas

    Blackened forest is left behind as large wildfire burns near  Magnolia, Texas.  More than 1,000 homes have been destroyed in at least 57 wildfires across rain-starved Texas, most of them in one devastating blaze near Austin that is still raging out of con
    Blackened forest is left behind as large wildfire burns near Magnolia, Texas. More than 1,000 homes have been destroyed in at least 57 wildfires across rain-starved Texas, most of them in one devastating blaze near Austin that is still raging out of con

    Wildfires in Texas have burned hundreds of homes and thousands of hectares of fields and forests in recent days in what government officials say is the worst fire season on record for that southwestern U.S. state.

    Main roads around Magnolia are closed as firefighters continue to battle blazes in the dry brush and heavily forested areas.

    Everything lost

    Residents who left everything behind watch the smoke rising and wonder what is left.

    Justin Allen is one of them. “When we left there last night, everything was in flames; we saw houses on fire.  So we don't know, we are just waiting to see,” he said.

    It might be a long wait because fires keep flaring up in different places, according to Montgomery County Sheriff's Department Captain Rand Henderson. “They have been pretty good during the course of the night because the wind had died down," he explained.  "It is starting to pick up some, moving from the east to the west, so we are having some flare-up issues.”

    Joel Hambright of the Texas Forestry Service says these are the worst fires he has seen in 17 years on the job. “This has been a year we will never forget, I think.  We are losing houses all over the place, so I just urge people to do some mitigation work and clear some of the fuel from around their houses, so this does not happen,” he said.

    Texas already was in danger because of a record-breaking drought.  Tropical Storm Lee, which caused flooding in neighboring Louisiana, brought almost no rain to Texas, but produced high winds to fan the flames.

    Dennis Burford was in Louisiana when he heard about the fire that threatened his home here in Texas. “All the creeks were swollen real good and all the bayous were swollen real good -- a lot of water.  But we sure need that here,” he said.

    Red Cross shelter for people, pets

    Burford and many of his neighbors came to a local high school, which is being used by the Red Cross as a shelter.

    Jessica Debalski is the Red Cross Field Services Manager for the Houston area.  “Last night we had about 80 people that spent the night, and then today we have had several more that have signed in to get more information and then wait here until the evacuation order has been lifted,” she stated.

    It is a tough time for those who have been displaced, but Debalski says her crew is doing what it can for them.

    “There is a lot of stress here," Debalski noted. "But we do have mental health specialists that are talking to people and we have kept everyone calm and well fed with lots of great snacks that have been donated by the community.  And we are just kind of waiting for more information.”

    One thing that helps is that evacuees are able to bring their pets and keep them in an outdoor area set up for animals.

    Michelle Johnson even brought some feathered friends. "I have two cats, a dog and two chickens, a rooster and a chicken.  And I grabbed them and got out or they would have died,” she explained.

    She may not have a house to return to, but Johnson says that at least she will have fresh eggs for breakfast.

    This is only one of several places in central and east Texas where wildfires are raging.  The winds have died down, but what is needed is rain and none is forecast for the next week. 

    You May Like

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora