Wildfires sweeping through parts of Texas and Oklahoma have destroyed dozens of homes and forced hundreds of people to evacuate, and although officials don't yet know what ignited the blazes, a summer heat wave and drought have left both states with the perfect fuel: parched ground and dry vegetation.
"We're in severe drought conditions, so just the tiniest little spark can start a wildfire," Texas Forest Service spokeswoman April Saginor said.
The forest service warned that the weather could also hamper efforts to contain the fast-moving blaze in North Texas that destroyed at least 20 homes in a lakeside community Tuesday. The fire threatened a further 125 homes in the Possum Kingdom Lake area, about 75 miles west of Fort Worth.
"It sounds like we're still going to have winds today," John Nichols, a spokesman for the service, said before dawn Wednesday.
Massive blazes in roughly the same area scorched hundreds of thousands of acres and destroyed 160 homes this spring.