“Critically dry vegetation” is fueling the fires amid drought conditions, the agency said. Weather conditions could worsen the situation.
“There is potential for large wildfires to occur today that may outpace firefighters’ suppression efforts in areas near Childress, Lubbock, Abilene, Mineral Wells, Brownwood, Midland, San Angelo, Fredericksburg, Del Rio, Laredo and Brownsville,” the release read.
By Tuesday, according to the release, the potential for large wildfires will escalate as “critical fire weather” is expected to develop over a large area of the state west of the I-35 corridor.
The Crittenburg Complex blaze likely started with munitions fired in a Fort Hood training area, garrison commander Col. Chad Foster said at a news conference Monday.
“All indicators point to small arms fire and some mortars that may have caused the fire on the installation,” he said.
It’s unusual for small arms to start fires, which generally are caused by bigger guns or tanks or artillery systems, Foster said, but “extreme drought conditions” led to “something that normally we probably wouldn’t have thought.”
Amanda Burson Latham was helping a friend move farm equipment Sunday near Fort Hood and came across the Crittenburg Complex fire, she said.
“The flames were 30-40 feet high and there was a mixture of black and rust colored smoke that covered the sun,” making everything an “eerie color,” Latham said.
“You could feel the heat of off it and hear the trees breaking and cracking and the fire roaring,” Latham said.
CNN’s Raja Razek contributed to this report.