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Possum Kingdom Rising From Ashes Of PK Fire

By Melissa Newton, CBS 11 News
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Possum Kingdom State Park

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POSSUM KINGDOM STATE PARK (CBSDFW.COM) – It was one of the most devastating local wildfires in recent memory.  Last month, the Possum Kingdom Lake wildfire destroyed 167 houses and structures.

127,000 acres were scorched including 90 percent of Possum Kingdom State Park.

Despite the damage left behind, the park reopened this week, just in time for the Memorial Day holiday.

“It’s really not as busy as I thought it would be as far as the park itself,” said camper Jeremy Fron, “I thought there would be more people here already.”

The Weatherford resident and his friends were some of the first to set up camp for the weekend, but park managers are hoping the holiday will bring out the crowds once again.

“It probably won’t be as big as it has been in years past,” said Park Manager Rocky Holland, “Memorial Day is the big kick off of the summer, and it’s a big weekend for everyone concerned, our concessionaire and us.”

Many people who made reservations at the park had to cancel after the wildfires, not knowing if the campsites would open in time.

“There’s about 1,700 acres in the park and about 1,500 acres burned,” Holland said, “We were real fortunate that the 200 acres that didn’t burn were where most of our facilities are, the cabins, the camp sites, the park store, our headquarters.”

Just two weeks ago, officials were still uncertain whether they would be able to open in time for the holiday weekend. One of the major hold-ups was the sewer system, which completely melted in the blaze.

But with last minute repairs, the park was able to open up all of the restrooms and showers.

“Now since we have the sewer filled, people can take showers,” Holland explained, “and we’re back in business.”

Despite the less than picturesque landscape, Fron and his friends say they are still happy campers.

“It’s pretty bad,” he said of the damage, “it could have been a lot worse I guess.”

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