A grass fire has ripped through a suburb in Dallas, Texas, destroying nine homes and damaging over a dozen others.
The fire on Monday came after the area experienced consecutive days of temperatures around 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius).
The fire erupted in the community of Balch Springs, a suburb to the southeast of downtown Dallas. A local fire official told CNN that 26 homes were damaged in the blaze, with nine destroyed.
Wildfires have sprung up across Texas in recent weeks as a prolonged heatwave gripped the central US. Temperatures in Dallas reached up to 104F (40C) on Monday.
The fire started when a lawnmower hit debris in an intensely dry field and sparked, igniting flames that spread rapidly, said the Associated Press. There were no reports of injuries or fatalities, and fire crews had extinguished the blaze.
The Texas region is currently experiencing “severe drought” conditions, according to the US Drought Monitor. Drought conditions comes with a serious risk of wildfire, leaving vegetation dried out and primed for burning.
Wildfires in the western US are expected to increase as the climate crisis causes higher temperatures, and more drought – two contributing factors for severe blazes.
The US Southwest is experiencing a decades-long “megadrought” fuelled by the climate crisis, leaving rangelands parched and the country’s largest reservoir, Lake Mead, at record-low water level levels. Lake Powell, the second-largest reservoir, is also near all-time low water levels.
The US is experiencing a severe wildfire season. Since January, more than 5.5 million acres have burned, according to the National Interagency Fire Center, an area roughly 15 times the size of Houston.
That’s vastly more than the 10-year average of 3.3 million acres burned by this point in the year.