Texas Wildfires: Update 5/3/11

Here is the latest from the Texas Forest Service. It looks as if things are improving a bit – at last.

Morning Wildfire Update – May 3, 2011 (10 a.m.)

Air Operations Update:
Aviation resources — heavy airtankers, helicopters and single engine airtankers — have been an invaluable tool for wildland firefighters battling the massive wildfires across the state. So far this year, our aviation resources have flown 776 missions. That’s more than 3,900 hours of flight time with no major incidents.

During those missions, they’ve dropped almost 7.8 million gallons of water and retardant in almost 5,500 drops.

These aircraft have had a direct effect on our ability to save lives, homes and property in Texas.

Recent Response: 

  • Texas Forest Service responded to no new major fires on May 2.
  • We’re currently working on 6 major fires that span 673,985 acres.
  • 210 of the 254 Texas counties are reporting burn bans.

Uncontained major fires from previous days:

ROCKHOUSE, Presidio and Jeff Davis Counties. 313,323 acres, 95 percent contained. The fire is being managed by the Southern Area Type I Incident Management Team.

DEATON COLE, Val Verde County. 175,000 acres, 65 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. Commercial airtankers and MAFFs tankers worked the fire most of the day yesterday and made good progress on the fire.

OASIS, Kimble County. 9,600 acres, 60 percent contained. Numerous engines, dozers, and helicopters continue to work the fire that is burning four miles south of Junction. TIFMAS strike teams of engines are on scene to do structure protection.

WORTHINGTON, Crockett County. 435 acres, 95 percent contained. A TFS strike team responded to the fire. No structures were threatened. The acreage change was due to GPS mapping.

PECAN CREEEK COMPLEX, Tom Green County. 840 acres, 95 percent contained. The fire is burning just south of San Angelo. Seventy-five homes were evacuated but none was lost.

PLEASANT FARMS, Ector County (and C-BAR, Crane County). 15,479 acres, 95 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.

WILDCAT, Coke County. 159,308 acres, 98 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 will again be restricted to small portions of West Branch west of the Big Bend region and in the Northwest Branch north of a line from Muleshoe to Perryton. Relative humidity values across the elevated area will be 10% or less, with winds across the panhandle out of the southwest at 10-15 mph with gusts to 25 mph. Winds across far West Texas will be out of the southeast at 10-15 mph with gusts to 25 mph. High pressure centered over North Branch will keep winds light across the interior portions of the state, generally 10 mph or less. Winds across coastal portions of the South Central, Central and South Branches will be out of the northeast at 15-20 with gusts to 25 mph. Relative humidity values will be between 10-20% across the central portions of West and Northwest Branches and through the Rio Grande Valley. Relative humidity values elsewhere will range from 20-50%, with the highest values across the South Central and eastern North and Central branches. High temperatures will be in the 70s for the entire state.

East Zone: Mostly sunny skies are expected across the Branch today with high pressure centered to the west over Central Texas. Relative humidity values across the northern half of the Branch will be greater than 50%, with values across the rest of the Branch between 40-50%. Winds will be out of the northeast at 5-10 mph across the northern half of the Branch and 15-20 mph with gusts to 25 mph across the coastal areas. High temperatures will be in the 70s, except for the northern third of the Branch which will remain in the upper 60s.

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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