11 Apr 2009

Tornadoes, wildfires sweep southern US, killing eight

2:52 pm on 11 April 2009

Tornadoes and wildfires fuelled by strong winds have caused widespread destruction in the southern United States, leaving at least eight people dead.

Five people have died in storms in Tennessee and Arkansas while wildfires in Texas have killed at least three people.

The small towns of Stoneburg and Sunset in Montague County northwest of Fort Worth were destroyed on Thursday.

A couple in Montague County were killed when a fast-moving grass fire consumed their home. Their son survived and was taken to a hospital in Dallas.

State of emergency declared in Oklahoma, sought in Texas

Governor Rick Perry, who said that 20 major fires were still burning across 24,280 hectares on Friday, has asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency to declare an emergency for 199 Texas counties.

Oklahoma's governor declared a state of emergency in 31 counties on Friday after fires destroyed more than 100 homes and injured about 50 people.