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California, Texas wildfires force evacuations of dozens of homes

Sept. 9, 2013 at 8:20 PM

MARTINEZ, Calif., Sept. 9 (UPI) -- Firefighters in California and Texas worked Monday to contain wildfires that threatened dozens of homes, officials say.

The largest of the blazes, the Morgan fire in California's Contra Costa County, had burned 1,500 acres and was 10 percent contained Monday afternoon, Cal Fire reported on its incident website.

About 100 homes and other structures had been evacuated in an area of Mount Diablo State Park where 500 firefighters were added to the 300 already deployed, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Air tankers and helicopters dropped water in the area, where firefighters were struggling against the rough terrain to establish several miles of containment lines in an attempt to control the fire.

The fire, which started Sunday afternoon, was spreading thanks to low humidity and dry brush, Cal Fire staff chief David Shew said.

In East Texas, eight fire crews battled several grass fires in an 8-mile stretch of Smith County Sunday night.

The fires began Sunday afternoon and by 3:30 p.m. authorities began evacuating about 60 homes east of Loop 323 in Tyler.

Residents were allowed to return home about 7:20 p.m., but firefighters were still monitoring the situation Monday morning.

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