Texas Wildfires: Situation Update 4/22/11

Here’s the news from the Texas Forest Service. Though things are looking a bit better today, it seems we’ll be back to the same dangerous conditions next week. If you can, please consider making a donation to the volunteer firefighters’ fund. These people are helping us hold the line on these terrible fires. See below:

Current Wildfire Status — April 22, 2011 (updated 12:30 p.m.)

Want to help?
Texas Forest Service has established the VFD Emergency Assistance Fund to help volunteer fire departments battling the wildfires. Donations are tax deductible and can be earmarked for particular departments, counties or regions. All proceeds (100 percent) will be distributed to volunteer fire departments via grants for firefighting expenses.

If you would like to donate to this fund or if you have questions about how you can help, emailHelpingTexas@tfs.tamu.edu.

Weather conditions
Higher levels of relative humidity, decreasing wind speeds and some slight rain continue to give firefighters a brief reprieve, allowing them to take an aggressive, offensive stance when fighting the wildfires across the state. However, extremely critical fire weather is predicted again for Monday and Tuesday.

Recent Response:

  • Yesterday Texas Forest Service responded to 10 new fires for 522 acres.
  • The following fires have been contained:
    • Mossy Rock Ranch Fire (Stephens County, 800 acres)
    • CR 104 Fire (Eastland County, 2000 acres)
    • Middle Pease Fire (Motley County, 400 acres)
    • Dad’s Corner Fire (Archer County, 6100 acres)
    • Southwest Royalty Fire (Garza County, 2000 acres)
    • Wichita County Complex (Wichita County, 11,785 acres)
    • Swenson (Stonewall, King & Knox counties, 122,500 acres)
    • Cooper Mtn Ranch (Kent, Stonewall, Scurry & Fisher counties, 162,625 acres)
    • Bryson Complex (Jack County, 7,500 acres)
  • 204 of the 254 Texas counties are reporting burn bans.

New large fires from Thursday (more than 100 acres in timber, 300 acres in lighter fuels):

TOLEDO BEND FIRE, Newton County. 130 acres, 100 percent contained. This fire is burning in plantation and hardwood, 3 miles East of South Toledo Bend.

Uncontained fires from previous days (more than 100 acres in timber, 300 acres in lighter fuels):

PK COMPLEX, Stephens and Palo Pinto Counties. 208,000 acres, 25 percent contained. 160 homes and 2 churches have been destroyed. PK West Fire is 89,715 acres. PK East Fire is 10,996 acres. Hohertz Fire is 40,575 acres. Jackson Ranch Fire is 6,687 acres. These fires are burning near Possum Kingdom Lake, Caddo, Strawn, and Bunger which have had evacuations. 600+ homes are threatened. Assessment teams have identified 166 destroyed homes. TFS task forces along with TIFMAS resources continue to assist on these fires.

WILDCAT, Coke County. 159,308 acres, 75 percent contained. This fire is burning north of San Angelo. More than 400 homes have been saved. The communities of Grape Creek, Quail Valley, Bronte, Robert Lee, Tennyson, and Orient are threatened. TIFMAS resources are assisting on the fire. Evacuations had been in effect for multiple communities, but are currently lifted.

ROCKHOUSE, Presidio and Jeff Davis counties. 202,150 acres, 75 percent contained. 23 homes and 2 businesses were destroyed in the Ft. Davis area. Ten 20-person hand crews continue to work the fire. A base camp for hundreds of firefighters has been set up at the Ft. Davis State Park.

SUTTON, Crockett County. 25,000 acres, 90 percent contained. The fire is burning 20 miles southwest of Ozona.

PIPELINE, Tyler County. 7,091 acres, 90 percent contained. There are forty homes threatened by this fire which is burning 10 miles Northeast of Kountze in a pine plantation.

Prevention messages:

  • Obey outdoor burning bans. Don’t burn trash or debris when conditions are dry or windy. Unsafe burning of leaves, brush, household trash and other debris is the No. 1 cause of wildfires in Texas.
  • Keep lawn mowers and agricultural equipment in proper working condition and avoid rocks and other materials which might cause a spark.
  • To report suspicious activities, call the Arson Hotline at (888) 501-3850. If possible, safely obtain an accurate description of the person and/or vehicle (including the license number) before calling the hotline.
  • Humans cause more than 90 percent of all wildfires. Do not weld or cut without a spotter, a water source and a shovel.

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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