September 5, 2011 in Nation/World

In brief: Texas fires kill two, destroy homes

From Wire Reports

DALLAS – A woman and her 18-month-old daughter were killed Sunday when their East Texas trailer home was engulfed by flames, and thousands of acres across parts of the state continued to burn from wildfires authorities blamed partly on the high winds caused by Tropical Storm Lee.

The 20-year-old woman and her child had no chance to escape as a wall of flames ravaged their neighborhood and ultimately their home, Gregg County Sheriff Maxey Cerliano said.

The neighborhood near the community of Gladewater is about 120 miles east of Dallas and 60 miles west of Shreveport, La. It was just one of several hit as dozens of fires spread rapidly across the area. Texas Forest Service officials estimated some 1,400 acres were burned in that area alone, destroying homes, barns and vehicles, and thousands of other acres were scorched in other parts of the state.

“We’ve completely depleted our resources,” Melanie Spradling, a public information officer with the Texas Forestry Service, told the Morning Telegraph. “We’re on every fire we can possibly handle and then some.”

Small-plane crash sparks fast blaze

TEHACHAPI, Calif. – A small plane that crashed and burst into flames Sunday killed one person and ignited a fast-moving brush fire that bore down on a California mountain community, forcing residents to flee from at least 100 homes.

One house burned to the ground after the single-engine Cessna 210 went down near Tehachapi south of Bakersfield, according to Kern County Fire Department spokesman Cary Wright. One death was confirmed.

The fire in Blackburn Canyon was “growing by the minute,” Wright said, adding that it shifted direction three times.

The blaze grew to 3,500 acres – nearly 5  1/2 square miles – amid dry, hot and windy conditions. More than 400 firefighters using 11 air tankers were working to contain the blaze, which was burning out of control.

“The terrain is steep, rugged. The wind is swirling. All the dry brush is a huge fuel source,” Wright said.

University offers course Groupon

CHICAGO – National Louis University will offer Tuesday a Groupon for a graduate-level introduction to teaching course, officials said.

With the Groupon, prospective students can save nearly 60 percent on tuition for the single, three-credit course and earn credit toward a graduate degree, said Jocelyn Zivin, the vice president of marketing and communications for the Chicago-based private university.

“There are all kinds of factors in the K-12 world that are really discouraging teachers and people seeking teaching degrees,” Zivin said. “We’d like (potential students) to understand what the realities are, whether you are committed to this profession … and see if you have what it takes.”

Prospective students will need to go through the school’s regular admissions process to take further courses.

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