Texas Wildfire Situation 4/16/11: New Information About Smoke

Here’s the latest from the Texas Forest Service. Notice the new information today on how to deal with smoke from the fires.


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Wildfire information:

Smoke is expected to continue in much of West Texas but should diminish in South and Central Texas by Saturday afternoon and evening.

To check the air quality in your area, visit the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality athttp://www.tceq.texas.gov/airquality/monops/forecast_today.html.

What are the health threats of wildfire smoke?

According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, smoke can pose a serious health threat, especially if you have chronic heart or lung disease. Children and older adults are also at greater risk. Even healthy people can be affected by smoky conditions.

Smoke from wildfires is a mixture of gases and fine particles from burning trees and plants. It can hurt your eyes, irritate your respiratory system and worsen symptoms from pre-existing conditions. Common symptoms of smoke exposure include:

• Coughing

• Scratchy throat

• Irritated sinuses

• Shortness of breath

• Chest pain

• Headaches

• Stinging eyes

• Runny nose
If you experience any of these symptoms, take the following measures:

• Limit outdoor activities as much as possible. When you must go outside, wear a protective mask with an N-95 rating and avoid physical exertion.

• Keep the windows and doors of your home shut.

• Run the air conditioner with the fresh-air intake closed and use high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters.

• Avoid cooking as much as possible.

• Do not burn candles or use fireplaces.

• Do not use vacuum cleaners which can stir up dust already inside your home.

• Keep your airways moist by drinking plenty of water. To help relieve dryness, breathe through a warm, wet cloth.
Texas Department of State Health Services


Current wildfire status – April 16, 2011 – 10 a.m.

 Recent response:

· Yesterday (Friday, April 15), Texas Forest Service responded to 20 new fires burning 4,274 acres.

· In the past seven days, TFS has responded to 95 fires burning 722,891 acres.

· In the past seven days, 1,460 homes and structures have been saved on TFS fires. 151 homes and structures have been lost.

· 195 Texas counties are reporting burn bans.

New large fires from Friday:

WICHITA COUNTY COMPLEX, Wichita County. 3,500 acres, 25 percent contained. The complex is made up of three fires – Iowa West, Holiday, Missle – burning around Wichita Falls. Shepard Air Force Base was threatened, as were hundreds of homes and apartment complexes around the area. Twenty homes are reported destroyed.

EAST CADDO, Callahan County. 300 acres, contained. No additional information was received.

HUBBARD, Stephens County. 400 acres, unknown containment. One (Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid System (TIFMAS) strike team is working the fire. No other information was received.

EAST SIDWYNICKS, Eastland County. 300 acres, unknown containment. The fire is burning near Carbon City. No other information was received.

Uncontained fires from previous days:

ROCKHOUSE, Presidio and Jeff Davis counties. 164,879 acres, 70 percent contained. 23 homes and 2 businesses were destroyed in the Fort Davis area. Two heavy air tankers have been requested to assist this morning with containment efforts south of the Limpia Crossing Subdivision and McDonald Observatory. Neither location is threatened at this time. Ten 20-person hand crews continue to work the fire. Eight TIFMAS Type 1 engines and four tenders are assisting with the fire, as well as numerous airtankers and helicopters. A base camp for hundreds of firefighters has been set up at the Fort Davis State Park.

COOPER MOUNTAIN RANCH, Kent, Stonewall, and Fisher counties. 149,000 acres, 15 percent contained. A wind shift yesterday pushed the fire south towards Camp Springs. Four homes have been destroyed. TFS task forces and TIFMAS strike teams are actively fighting this fire.

SWENSON, Stonewall, King, and Knox counties. 103,394 acres, 90 percent contained. The fire is burning near Swenson. A slopover occurred Friday on the southeast side of the fire.

FRYING PAN RANCH, Andrews County. 80,907 acres, 40 percent contained. This fire is 25 miles WNW of Andrews. Numerous homes were threatened, but none have been lost.

WILDCAT, Coke County. 41,958 acres, 10 percent contained. This fire is burning north of San Angelo. More than 400 homes have been saved. The communities of Grape Creek and Quail Valley are threatened. If a southerly wind returns today, the town of Robert Lee to the north could be threatened.

PK WEST, Stephens County. 30,000 acres, unknown containment. This fire is burning near Possum Kingdom Lake. 200 homes are threatened and 31 have been destroyed. TFS task forces and two TIFMAS strike teams are actively fighting this fire. This fire may burn into the Hohertz Fire. National Guard Blackhawk helicopters are assisting.

HICKMAN, Midland County. 16,500 acres, 98 percent contained. 34 homes were destroyed, 62 homes were damaged on this fire south of Midland.

HOHERTZ, Palo Pinto County. 15,000 acres, unknown containment. 1,200 homes have been threatened, none reported lost. The fire is moving toward Strawn. This fire may burn into the PK West Fire.

CANNON FIRE COMPLEX, Pecos County. The complex of three fires is burning 50 miles east of Fort Stockton. The Cannon Fire is 9,248 acres and 80 percent contained. The DRH Fire is 26,284 acres and 80 percent contained. The Little Smokey Fire is 27,895 acres and 60 percent contained.

POST OAK, Hardin County. 796 acres, 90 percent contained. Four homes and four outbuildings threatened. The fire is 11 miles northwest of Kountze.

McPHERSON, Sutton County. 1,500 acres, 15 percent containment. The fire is located 20 miles southwest of Sonora.

JUSTICEBURG EAST, Stephens County. 300 acres, 95 percent contained. The fire is burning near Justiceburg.

SUTTON, Crockett County. 4,248 acres, 50 percent contained. The fire is burning 20 miles southwest of Ozona.

Yates Field (formerly Iraan), Pecos County. 300 acres, 40 percent contained. The fire is burning 10 miles southwest of Iraan.

LUCAS, Stephens County. 400 acres, 95 percent containment. The fire is 11 miles southeast of Breckenridge. Multiple structures were evacuated.

SCHEZZOW, Kerr County. 400 acres, 90 percent contained. Two structures were threatened and saved; one outbuilding, one vehicle and one bobcat skid-steer were lost. The fire is 22 miles west of Kerrville.

ENCINO, Tom Green County. 12,659 acres, 90 percent contained. This fire is 13 miles west of San Angelo. Ten homes threatened and saved. Two homes were threatened and received damage.

About M.J.Deare

I am a writer, actively researching topics of interest. I am also a graduate of the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, with a degree in English, and have a master's degree from the University of Memphis. Born in New Orleans, I lived there until moving to northwest Arkansas and from there to Memphis, Tennessee. My husband and I currently reside in The Woodlands, Texas.
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