Texas Wildfires Update 5/1/11

Here is the report from the Texas Forest Service this morning. Many homes and many communities were made safe by the firefighters in the past few days.

Morning Wildfire Update – May 1, 2011 (10 a.m.)

With high winds and low relative humidity levels, West Texas remains critically dry and prone to wildfires. The rest of the state, however, is continuing to see reprieve thanks to changing weather conditions that resulted in decreasing winds and higher relative humidity levels.

Recent Response:

  • Texas Forest Service responded to no new large fires on April 30.
  • We’re currently working on 14 major fires that span 681,583 acres.
  • 211 of the 254 Texas counties are reporting burn bans. Map attached.

No new large fires from April 30 (more than 100 acres in timber, 300 acres in lighter fuels):

None.

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

ROCKHOUSE, Presidio and Jeff Davis Counties. 313,323 acres, 82 percent contained. Aircraft and crews continue to work the northwest corner of the fire. A successful burnout was completed yesterday. Forty-one homes and two commercial structures were destroyed in the Ft. Davis area in the initial burning period. The fire is being managed by the Southern Area Type I Incident Management Team.

DEATON COLE, Val Verde County. 150,000 acres, 10 percent contained. The fire is in rugged terrain 30 miles southwest of Ozona, burning in tall grass and brush. Numerous ranch houses are threatened. Three strike teams of TIFMAS engines are assisting. A SEAT base has been set up in Ozona to support fire operations.

OASIS, Kimble County. 9,600 acres, 80 percent contained. Commercial airtankers and four MAFFs tankers helped slow the spread of the fire yesterday that is burning approximately four miles from Junction. Two TIFMAS strike teams of engines is on scene to do structure protection.

WORTHINGTON, Crockett County. 900 acres, 90 percent contained. A TFS strike team responded to the fire. No structures were threatened.

CLARK RANCH, Throckmorton County. 7,000 acres, 95 percent contained. The fire has burned into the Miller Creek Fire in Baylor County.

WAGGONER RANCH (Wagner), Wilbarger County. 2500 acres, 95 percent contained. Fifty homes were threatened on this fire burning in tall grass four miles southwest of Harold.

SISK, Archer/Wichita counties. 200 acres, 90 percent contained. Five hundred homes were evacuated, two were destroyed on this fire burning six miles southwest of Wichita Falls

OLYMPIA, Hockley County. 5,000 acres, 70 percent containment. The fire is burning 13 miles southwest of Littlefield.

PECAN CREEEK COMPLEX, Tom Green County. 840 acres, 90 percent contained. The fire is burning just south of San Angelo. Seventy-five homes were evacuated but none was lost.

SCOTT RANCH, Irion County. 11,233 acres, 95 percent contained. The fire is burning in tall grass and brush 12 miles northeast of Barnhart.

PLEASANT FARMS, Ector County (and C-BAR, Crane County). 15,479 acres, 90 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.

CHAMPION, Mitchell County. 1,000 acres, 90 percent contained. Six homes are threatened on this fire five miles south of Colorado City. Three homes were lost.

FULLER, Scurry County. 5,200 acres, 95 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.

WILDCAT, Coke County. 159,308 acres, 95 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.


Weather Outlook
West Zone: Elevated fire weather conditions expected today across the Northwest, West and South Branches. A cold front will reach a line from Fort Stockton to San Antonio and then from San Antonio to Shreveport, Louisiana, by mid-afternoon, with a dry line stretching from San Antonio to Laredo. Relative Humidity values south of the front and west of the dry line will be less than 20 percent and less than 10 percent in far west Texas. Winds in this area will be from the WSW at 10-15 mph with gusts to 25 mph. The rest of the state will be mostly cloudy with higher RH values from 20-50%. Scattered thunderstorms are possible south of the front and east of the dry line, with rain showers expected north of the front across areas from Abilene eastward. Winds behind the front will be out of the NE at 30 -35 mph gusting to 45 mph west of Interstate 35, and out of the NW at 25-35 with gusts to 40 mph east of I-35. South of the front, winds across South, Central, and South Central Branches will be SE at 20-30 mph with gusts to 35 mph. High temperatures will range from the upper 40s to near 70 degrees behind the cold front and in the 80s and 90s south, with areas near Laredo seeing temperatures in the low 100s. On Monday, the front will move closer to the coast, with thunderstorms possible south of the front and rain showers expected. Much higher RH values expected across the state.

East Zone: A cold front will stretch along a line from near Crockett to Shreveport, Louisiana, by mid-afternoon today with scattered thunderstorms expected south of the front and showers to the north. Overcast skies with RH values of 50-60% expected area wide with NW winds 25-35 mph gusting to 40 mph north of the front and S winds 25-35 mph gusting to 40 mph south of the front. High temperatures will be in the 70s north of the front and in the 80s to the south. Scattered thunderstorms expected again on Monday across the far southern portions of East Branch as the front moves closer to the coast. Rain showers are possible across the remainder of East Branch north of the front.
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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