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Dry, windy conditions keep Texas fires burning

/ Source: The Associated Press

High wind and dry weather Saturday allowed wildfires to continue burning across Texas, where fires have destroyed six houses, killed a man and blackened about 6,200 acres of grassland.

Nick Harrison, a spokesman for the Texas Forest Service, said the low humidity and extremely high wind created hazardous conditions in south-central Texas and the Hill Country. "We're critically dry across the state," he said.

Crews worked Saturday to contain a 1,700-acre fire in Jack County, Harrison said. Two buildings were lost in that blaze, which was about 70 percent contained by Saturday evening, he said.

A blaze that charred 1,000 acres in Montague County just south of the Oklahoma-Texas state line was "in cleanup stages" Saturday, a sheriff's department spokeswoman said.

No structures were threatened by that fire on Friday and no evacuations were ordered, said Wendy Davis of the Montague County Sheriff's Department. No injuries were reported.

Two other fires Friday charred more than 3,500 acres of grass in West Texas, burning homes, five hunting cabins, 22 outbuildings and 10 vehicles.

One of them, a 2,500-acre fire that destroyed six homes in Jones County, about 25 miles northwest of Abilene, was no longer active Saturday, Harrison said.

However, firefighters had made little progress containing the second fire, which had covered more than 1,000 acres and destroyed two outbuildings near Albany, Harrison said.

Abilene is about 175 miles west of Dallas, while Albany is about 150 miles west.

In central Texas, a 53-year-old man died Friday in a small grass fire near several homeless camps on the outskirts of Austin. The victim suffered third-degree burns over 90 percent of his body.