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Panhandle Fire Evacuees Return Home

A man watches as smoke from a wildfire rises into the sky. (credit: Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)

A man watches as smoke from a wildfire rises into the sky. (credit: Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)

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FRITCH (AP) - About 2,100 Texas Panhandle residents evacuated for days because of a wildfire are scheduled to return to their homes.

Texas A&M Forest Service spokesman Troy Duchneaux says residents of the Fritch area will be allowed back into the 4-square-mile evacuation zone around midmorning Wednesday.

The fire was 85 percent contained late Tuesday. Duchneaux says residual fires comprise mainly hotspots within the area that’s already burned.

At least 156 structures, more than half of them homes, have been destroyed by the fire that broke out Sunday.

Authorities have attributed the death of one person from an apparent heart attack to the fire. Further details haven’t been released.

The area about 30 miles northeast of Amarillo is in the most severe drought stage after months of well-below-average rainfall.

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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