Possum Kingdom Residents Escape Fire by Boat

A sheriff says boats helped Possum Kingdom residents after the second round of wildfires to scorch the area in just four months cut off their main escape route.

Palo Pinto County Sheriff Ira Mercer said dozens of residents in an upscale subdivision on Possum Kingdom Lake were moved from their homes to a nearby marina when wildfires broke out Tuesday. Waiting boats moved the residents across the lake away from the flames.

Mercer says the latest fire was estimated at 5,100 acres with 25 percent containment Wednesday. He says the 25 homes destroyed Tuesday were in an area that didn't burn during April wildfires that consumed 160 homes and 127,000 acres in three counties.

A Texas Forest Service spokesman says three people were hurt in the fire. John Nichols said two firefighters hurt their ankles fighting the blaze overnight and one resident also sought medical attention.

Officials said more than 100 homes were threatened by the wildfire that started Tuesday. An area of homes near that area have been evacuated.

Crews did a "burnout" Tuesday night, where they burned 300 acres. Three heavy aircraft, including two helicopters and one five-seated aircraft, is heading to the scene to spray fire retardant. A DC10 has also been ordered and will arrive at the scene from California if the situation worsens.

Highway 16 has been shut down from North FM 2353 down to Possum Kingdom Lake.

Nichols said they are investigating the cause of the fire. He said firefighters are battling the wildfire with the help of the Texas Forest Service, on the ground and from the air.

The Palo Pinto County Sheriff's Office tells Newschannel 6 parts of the lake will be closed to visitors during the Labor Day weekend, though other portions will be open for the holiday.

Newschannel 6 crews have been down at Possum Kingdom since this morning, monitoring the flames and capturing the fire fight. Stay with us for the latest information.