A grass fire apparently sparked by a mower swept about 300 yards across a tinder-dry open field to a suburban Dallas subdivision Monday, burning through wooden fences and torching as many as 20 homes, officials said. The blaze in Balch Springs was the latest in drought-stricken North Texas, which has been vulnerable to explosive wildfires for at least two weeks, the AP reports. The mower was being used in the open field to trim the brush when its blade struck some debris and generated a spark that ignited the blaze, said Balch Springs Fire Marshal Sean Davis. The fire spread quickly north from the shoulder of Interstate 20 to the subdivision about 4pm Monday, causing varying degrees of damage to 14 to 20 homes before the flames were contained, Davis said.
There were no immediate reports of injuries, he said. Aerial video showed the fire spread up and down the street as firefighters and homeowners working in 103-degree heat tried to prevent the fire from spreading to more of the bricked frame homes. One end of the fire spread to a home where a panicked dog ran back and forth before running through a pet door at a neighboring home. The fate of pets was not immediately known, Davis said. Meanwhile, firefighting crews have held the effects of the Chalk Mountain Fire in North Texas in check at 10 1/2 square miles since last week. It has destroyed 16 homes and damaged five others so far.
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