BRAD (CBSDFW.COM) – The wildfire that has ravaged 6,555 acres in Palo Pinto County is now 80 percent contained Saturday night as strike teams continue to dump thousands of gallons of water on hot spots and residents begin to return to their homes.
The 101 Ranch Fire has destroyed 39 homes and nine RV’s, said Texas Forest Service spokeswoman April Phillips. Blackhawk and Chinook helicopters from the National Guard are skimming water from nearby Possum Kingdom Lake to dump on the flames.READ MORE: Texas Amber Alert Ended After 6-Year-Old Amari Baylor Found Safe
Twenty-eight of those homes destroyed were single family residences, 4 were duplexes and 3 were condominiums, Phillips said. The Cliff Resorts sales office was also destroyed. Ten single family residences received minor damage and 3 incurred major damage.
Phillips said the air-efforts “made good progress” Friday, and added 15 percent containment Saturday. Evacuation orders issued early in the week were lifted, and some residents were allowed back to their homes.
Those who lived in The Cliffs neighborhood – the area hit hardest by the flames – were allowed to return to their properties for two hours between noon and 6 p.m. to assess any damage. They were not allowed to stay longer than that.
“We looked straight up and watched houses burn one after the other,” said Daron Gribble, a Cliffs evacuee who had to flee his home on a boat. “It got to the point where you really couldn’t see what was burning and what wasn’t burning.”READ MORE: Cancer Worries Lead To Recall Of 'All Lots' Of Anti-Smoking Drug Chantix
Gribble said he knows his home survived because fire fighters took pictures of the damage and shared them with residents. He said he was stunned by the damage from the fire, the second to tear through the area in four months.
The 101 Ranch Fire “was one of the hottest fires,” he said. “I’m blown away by what it did.”
The PK Lake Fire burned more than 150,000 acres of rural land and destroyed 100 houses in April. The 101 Ranch Fire started Tuesday.
Air tankers from California and Arizona have skimmed more than 1,400 gallons of water at a time out of the Possum Kingdom Lake and dumped it on hot spots that continue to smolder and flare up in the afternoon heat.
Planes and helicopters will keep dumping water on the burning areas this weekend. Officials want it soaked completely, as high winds are forecasted to return after Labor Day.MORE NEWS: Thousands Of Haitian Migrants Crowd Under Bridge To Wait In Texas Town On Mexican Border
Out of the 254 counties in the state, 251 currently have burn bans. Officials have not determined how the 101 Ranch Fire began.