Texas Wildfire Update

Here is the latest report from the Texas Forest Service. Good luck traveling down Hwy 385 today.

Wildfire update – May 12, 2011 – 9:15 a.m.

Current situation:

· Some parts of the state received beneficial rainfall yesterday, although nothing fell west of a line from Wichita Falls to San Angelo to San Antonio.

· Texas Forest Service responded to no new large fires yesterday.

· We are currently working on six major fires that span 487,702 acres.

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

Uncontained fires from previous days:

IRON MOUNTAIN, Brewster County. 36,383 acres, 25 percent contained. The fire is burning in rough terrain 10 miles northwest of Alpine. Significant fire growth occurred yesterday under strong winds and low humidity. Two residences were saved yesterday with retardant drops. The fire is moving rapidly toward Highway 385.

DICKENS COMPLEX, Dickens County. 89,200 acres, 90 percent contained. The fire is 5 miles east of Dickens. Two homes and an oil pipeline infrastructure are directly threatened. The fires in the complex include Batch Camp, Edwards, South Camp and Afton Area. Shifting winds continued to cause firefighters problems yesterday. Aerial resources were effective and helped support burnout operations.

SCHWARTZ, Brewster County. 32,700 acres, 25 percent contained. Located 19 miles east of Marathon, structures are threatened on the northwest side of the fire.

GAGE HOLLAND, Brewster County. 5,975 acres, 95 percent contained. The fire is burning in rough terrain in the mountains just west of Alpine. Evacuations of approximately 40 residences occurred on the west side of Alpine, but residents were allowed to return. One home was destroyed.

611 GAS PLANT, Fisher County. 9,000 acres, 90 percent contained. Thirty-two homes, oil infrastructure and wind turbines are threatened on this lightning-caused fire 13 miles northwest of Sweetwater. Two structures were lost; unknown what type.

ROCKHOUSE, Presidio and Jeff Davis Counties. 314,444 acres, 98 percent contained. Twenty-four homes and two commercial structures were destroyed in the Fort Davis area in the initial burning period.

Weather Outlook:

There will be elevated fire weather conditions over the south portions of the Northwest Branch and much of the West Branch this afternoon. Afternoon relative humidity will lower into the 6 to 10 percent range. At the same time, west winds of 15 to 20 mph with gusts to 25 mph can be expected. This area will be behind the dry line, which will extend along a Dallas to Fredericksburg to Del Rio line in the afternoon.

Ahead of the dry line, expect showers and thunderstorms over the North, East and Central Branches. Rainfall amounts will range from a half inch to 1.5 inches. Winds will generally be from the south in the 10 to 15 mph range over central and east Texas with afternoon relative humidity in the 45 to 65 percent range. Over the Panhandle in the Northwest Branch, a cold front will be moving south and reach the Amarillo area in the afternoon. Winds will become more north in the afternoon across the Panhandle as a result with speeds in the 15 to 25 mph range. Humidity in this area will be in the 20 to 30 percent range.

Prevention messages:

· Firewise (firewise.org) is a resource for residents to protect their home and property from wildfire.

· Remove flammable materials from around your home.

· Develop an evacuation plan for your family. Resources are available on the Firewise website and at texasfirestorm.org.

· 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.

Punky Moore
Public Information Officer
Lone Star Incident Management Team
(979) 229-7921
information@tfs.tamu.edu


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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