Texas Wildfire Update 4/28/11

Here is the morning update from the Texas Forest Service. Unfortunately, the list of fires is still very long. Why can’t Mother Nature spread the rain around a little bit? Some places are getting way too much, but others, well… we’re hurting. Here’s hoping this weather pattern changes soon.

Current wildfire status – April 28, 2011

Recent response:

· Yesterday, Texas Forest Service responded to four new large fires – three of which are now contained.

· We’re currently working on 15 major fires burning more than 664,000 acres.

· 213 of the 254 Texas counties are reporting burn bans.

New large fires from yesterday:

SHIRLEY RANCH, Presidio County. 3,500 acres, contained. The fire is 20 miles southwest of Marfa. One structure was saved.

CR 266, Duval County. 1,500 acres, 89 percent contained. Eight homes are threatened on this fire burning in tall grass six miles southeast of Realitos.

OZARKA, Walker County. 200 acres, contained. The fire is burning in pine plantation on both sides of I-45 nine miles northwest of Huntsville. One home was saved.

Highway 255 East, Jasper County. 131 acres, contained. The fire is burning in pine plantation eight miles north of Jasper.

Uncontained fires from previous days:

ROCKHOUSE, Presidio and Jeff Davis counties: 292,739 acres, 66 percent contained. Twenty-three homes and two commercial structures were destroyed in the Ft. Davis area in the initial burning period. The Buffalo Trail Boy Scout Ranch remains threatened. Approximately 400 firefighters and support personnel continue to work the fire burning in heavy brush and pinyon-juniper in Madera Canyon. Difficult terrain is causing control problems on the west side of the fire. Crews continue to conduct burnout operations. Modular Airborne Firefighting Systems (MAFFs) airtankers flew numerous missions Wednesday to help support ground operations. A base camp for hundreds of firefighters has been set up at the Fort Davis State Park.

DEATON COLE, Val Verde County. 40,000 acres, 50 percent contained. The fire is in rugged terrain 40 miles southwest of Ozona, burning in tall grass and brush. Three residences are threatened. Heavy airtankers, single-engine airtankers, and helicopters worked the fire most of the day, but strong, gusty winds and low relative humidity made containment difficult. Additional aviation resources have been ordered for today.

SCOTT RANCH, Irion County. PLEASANT FARMS, Ector County (and C-BAR, Crane County). 10,000 acres, 40 percent contained. The fire is burning in tall grass and brush 12 miles northeast of Barnhart. Extreme fire behavior is occurring and the fire is burning through areas with oil and gas wells and storage tanks.

PLEASANT FARMS, Ector County (and C-BAR, Crane County). 12,800 acres, 75 percent contained. The C-Bar and Pleasant Farms fires burned together. All information will be reported under Pleasant Farms. Seventy-five homes are threatened; one has been lost on this fire 15 miles southwest of Odessa.

OASIS, Kimble County. 6,400 acres, 10 percent contained. Twenty homes are threatened on the fire four miles northwest of Telegraph. Very active fire behavior was observed Wednesday. National Guard Blackhawks from San Antonio assisted on the fire Wednesday.

BOYS RANCH, Potter and Oldham counties. 500 acres, 85 percent contained. The fire is burning in tall grass 17 miles northwest of Amarillo. Six homes were saved.

CHAMPION, Mitchell County. 1,000 acres, no containment. Six homes are threatened on this fire five miles south of Colorado City. Three homes were lost last night. The acreage decrease was due to GPS mapping.

HAPPY, Castro County. 3,000 acres, 75 percent contained. The fire is burning in tall grass 11 miles west of Happy.

FULLER, Scurry County. 5,200 acres, 70 percent contained. The fire is 15 miles northwest of Snyder. Three TFS taskforces and a TIFMAS strike responded, along with numerous heavy airtankers and helicopters.

SPADE RANCH, Terry County. 4,000 acres, 90 percent contained. The fire is burning 43 miles southwest of Lubbock in tall grass. Eight structures were saved.

MATHIS, Cottle County. 300 acres, 90 percent contained. One home was saved on this fire just on the north side of Paducah.

T-BAR RANCH, Lynn County. 1500 acres, 90 percent contained. The fire is burning in grass 20 miles south of Lubbock. There are no structures threatened.

PK COMPLEX, Stephens and Palo Pinto Counties. 126,734 acres, 94 percent contained. The acreage decrease is due to more accurate GPS mapping. 167 homes and two churches have been destroyed on this complex of four fires burning near Possum Kingdom Lake, Caddo, Strawn and Bunger, which have all had evacuations. Lower winds and higher humidity have helped firefighters gain the upper hand, although scattered hot spots and smoldering continue on the interior. Texas Forest Service task forces, Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid System (TIFMAS) resources, three Helitankers, and three Type III Helicopters are assisting on the fire. The Type I Incident Management Team (Wilder) is expected to be released from the fire at the end of this week.

WILDCAT, Coke County. 159,308 acres, 90 percent contained. This fire is burning in tall grass north of San Angelo. More than 400 homes have been saved, one was destroyed. The communities of Grape Creek, Quail Valley, Bronte, Robert Lee, Tennyson and Orient were threatened, but all evacuation orders have been lifted.

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.

Marq Webb
Lone Star Incident Management Team
(979) 229-7921

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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