Wildfire In Texas That Devastated 500 Acres Was Sparked By Rubbish From House Party
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Featured Image Credit: KDFW FOX 4/Simon Dack/Alamy Stock Photo
A large-scale wildfire that devastated 500 acres of North Texas this month was sparked by sunlight magnified through glass bottles, fire officials have confirmed.
The flames, which first set alight on the shore of Possum Kingdom Lake on Monday, 18 July, took eight days to put out and destroyed five homes in the blaze.
On the second day of the wildfire, Chief Bonnie Watkins from the Possum Kingdom West Side Volunteer Fire Department uncovered that the fire had been sparked by an open bag of rubbish from a party.
The fire chief determined that the bag of party rubbish – consisting of glass bottles, food, and paper goods – was blown open by a gust of wind.
Soon after, sunlight magnified through the glass bottles set the paper goods on fire.
In recent weeks, Texas has been experiencing a number of catastrophic wildfires cause by extreme drought conditions, with temperatures of more than 38ºC and low humidity, as a result of the ongoing climate crisis.
A statement from officials read: "The wind provided the oxygen. The sun provided the heat. The loosely packed paper goods and food provided the fuel.
"The sunlight was magnified through the glass bottles [until] it reached ignition temperature. Once ignited the fire built rapidly. It vented out the side and top of the trash can causing nearby cedar trees to ignite."
Speaking to the Associated Press, Insurance Council of Texas spokesperrson Rich Johnson said he had never heard of a wildfire starting like this before.
“A fire started in a trash can is one thing, but one caused by sunlight magnified by glass bottles? That’s a new one."
Just 50 miles southwest of the incident, a second wildfire also sparked up on the same day, raging across 6,700 square acres and destroying 16 homes.
Fire officials confirmed that the catastrophic blaze was 40 percent contained by Thursday, 28 July.
This year, wildfires have burned approximately 5.6 million acres of land across the US, according to the National Interagency Fire Centre.
Issuing a warning on Tuesday (26 July), officials from the National Interagency Fire Centre stated: "As record temperatures and very dry fuels continue to be reported in many states, wildland firefighters need everyone to do their part to prevent wildfires."
As of Friday, 29 July, there are currently 61 large fires still active.
This year, 38,855 wildfires have been recorded in this US. From that, more than 34,000 were caused by human action.
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Topics: News, Climate Change, Weather, US News