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Wildfires spread through parts of central Texas, prompting evacuations

The Eastland Complex fire has burned through more than 39,800 acres of land, according to officials.
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Crews are working to contain rapidly spreading wildfires that have scorched thousands of acres and prompted evacuations in parts of central Texas. 

By early Friday morning, the Eastland Complex fire, a blaze that formed Thursday after a number of smaller fires converged, had burned through more than 39,800 acres of land in Eastland County, the Texas A&M Forest Service said in an update.

Just two percent of the fire had been contained as of 5:15 a.m., the service said.

“This is a large, developing incident and it will continue to burn and things will change throughout the night and into tomorrow,” Adam Turner, the service's regional wildland urban interface coordinator, told NBC Dallas-Fort Worth on Thursday.

A number of other active fires also continued to burn, including in Sterling, Reagan and Runnels counties. Those fires were more than 75 percent contained as of Friday morning.

Evacuations were ongoing late Thursday evening in a number of areas in Eastland County, Texas, according to the national Inciweb wildfire database.

Around 475 homes in the city of Gorman were being evacuated, with residents instructed to head south. The city of Carbon and Lake Leon were also affected, it said.

Shelters were opened at a number of locations, including at the Eastland First Baptist Church.

The Texas A&M Forest Service said firefighters had been working alongside local responding agencies overnight on a number of wildfires that ignited the previous day.

“Strong winds and critically dry grasses contributed to extreme fire behavior and rapid rates of spread across the landscape,” it said.

The service said fire crews continued to “focus on life safety and structure protection, as well as constructing containment lines where possible.”