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‘Surprise’ Wildfire In Palo Pinto County Is About 90 Percent Contained, Officials Say

Crews continue to make progress in stomping out a stubborn wildfire in Palo Pinto County, about 60 miles west of Fort Worth.

The so-called "Surprise Fire" was 90 percent contained as of Sunday night, according to the Texas A&M Forest Service. The fire has scorched about 4,500 acres.

Lightning appears to be the cause of the fire, which has been burning since July 2.

Firefighters kept working through the weekend. Some rain fell over the area on Friday night and Saturday, which limited interior burning, officials say.

Erin O'Connor with the Texas A&M Forest Service says crews are fighting more wildfires this year. 

“We definitely did not have this type of activity last year,” she said. “So every season is different. I think we’re kind of in an extended season this year. They’re definitely expecting that we’re going to have more fire activity. So [it’s] just something for everyone to be aware of. It’s going to be hot, dry, windy.”

Smaller fires in Palo Pinto County have been put out. The Mercer Ranch Road fire, to the west of the Surprise Fire, has been 100 percent contained. About 50 acres were burned. And the Brad wildfire scorched about 75 acres before it was put out.

Other wildfires have been reported in July to the west of Fort Worth, including in Young, Hood, Shackelford and Eastland counties; all of those fires are now 100 percent contained.

Becky Fogel with public radio's Texas Standard contributed to this report.

Eric Aasen is KERA’s managing editor. He helps lead the station's news department, including radio and digital reporters, producers and newscasters. He also oversees, the station’s news website, and manages the station's digital news projects. He reports and writes stories for the website and contributes pieces to KERA radio. He's discussed breaking news live on various public radio programs, including The Takeaway, Here & Now and Texas Standard, as well as radio and TV programs in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.