Crews make progress in containing massive Texas wildfire

Fires about 60% contained as of Monday night

Fire in Eastland, Texas on March 20, 2022. (Eastland Fire Department)

EASTLAND, Texas – Firefighting crews were making progress containing a massive Texas wildfire that was blamed for last week’s death of a deputy, officials said.

The Eastland Complex has burned about 85 square miles since a series of fires broke out last week in an area 120 miles west of Dallas. The fires were about 60% contained as of Monday night, up from 30% containment a day before, according to Texas A&M Forest Service.

The fire has burned 147 structures so far and led to the death of Deputy Sgt. Barbara Fenley, who died while going door-to-door telling residents to evacuate, officials said.

“The extreme conditions present across the state last week, greatly impacted several communities and the Texans that live there,” said Wes Moorehead, Texas A&M Forest Service Fire Chief. “These communities endured significant loss and we grieve with you.”

In Ranger, Texas, a man was arrested over the weekend on felony arson charges in connection with a fire that destroyed several structures, including a 103-year-old church, police said.

Overall, crews have responded to 178 wildfires that have burned nearly 170 square miles (440 square kilometers) statewide since last Thursday, officials said.