SOMERVELL COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — On Saturday, Gov. Greg Abbott issued a disaster declaration in North Texas for 10 counties, including Somervell County, in response to the Chalk Mountain Fire that has burned more than 6,700 acres so far.
The governor said 60 homes were evacuated, 16 were destroyed and five were damaged in the wildfire. In total, 38 agencies have responded, including local, state and federal first responders.
Abbott said nobody has died, and there have been only two minor injuries reported. He thanked residents for evacuating in time.
“You can face a fire and see that your property may be lost. But the most important thing that you have is your life. And so we are so proud of the way that people have responded to this fire in a way that has eliminated the loss of any life whatsoever,” Abbott said.
The chief of the local fire department said the fire is currently about 10% contained, but called that number “conservative” because much of it has been lined by firefighters. He expects that number to increase by the end of the day.
Texas Division of Emergency Management Chief Nim Kidd said all Texans need to be fire cautious as much of the state continues to experience drought conditions.
“The fire has a good line around it right now we’ve got enough assets here to keep it inside that fire line. But at any given moment, we need to understand that weather conditions could deteriorate or we could have a pop-out fire or another fire start. And I think that’s one of the things that I really want everybody to leave here today with is this is not the only fire in town, not the only fire in Texas right now. And any new fires would only draw on existing resources,” Kidd said.
A state official said state agencies have responded to 205 wildfires across Texas in the last seven days.
The disaster declaration allows for the state to tap more resources faster in response to an emergency. The governor said there are now 83 counties in Texas with this disaster declaration.