Here is the latest info from the Texas Forest Service on the Bastrop County fire and the Riley Road Complex fire, which encompasses parts of Montgomery, Grimes, and Waller counties, plus all of the other active fires today. The daytime temps are heating up, and the humidity is very low. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that the winds do NOT pick up again, and please remember the firefighters in your thoughts and prayers — 176 fires in just seven days! Truly incredible.
Wildfire update – Sept. 8, 2011
· Yesterday Texas Forest Service responded to 20 new fires for 1,422 acres, including new large fires in Red River, Smith, and Cherokee/Rusk counties.
· In the past seven days Texas Forest Service has responded to 176 fires for 126,844 acres.
· A more comprehensive assessment has been completed on the Bastrop County Complex by FEMA and the State Operations Center. The total number of homes destroyed on that fire is now confirmed at 1,386. Approximately 240 additional homes have been reported lost on other fires since Sunday, for a total of approximately 1,626.
· 250 of the 254 Texas counties are reporting burn bans.
· Daily detailed fire information can be found at inciweb.org.
New large fires from yesterday (more than 100 acres in timber, 300 acres in lighter fuels; or where homes were lost):
CLARKSVILLE, Red River County. 350 acres, 90 percent contained. Two homes were lost on this timber and grass fire burning near Clarksville.
#526, Smith County. 450 acres, unknown containment.
#521, Cherokee/Rusk County. 256 acres, 90 percent contained.
Uncontained fires from previous days (more than 100 acres in timber, 300 acres in lighter fuels):
BASTROP COUNTY COMPLEX, Bastrop County. 34,068 acres, 30 percent contained. Heavy airtankers, scoopers, helicopters, and single-engine airtankers assisted on this fire that started in the Lost Pines area just northeast of Bastrop. Most of the forward progress of the fire has stopped, but significant intense burning continues in the interior. An assessment team has confirmed 1,386 homes have been destroyed. Two civilians were found dead Tuesday as search crews went through the charred subdivisions.A Southern Area Type I Incident Management Team is assisting in managing the fire.
BEAR CREEK (#536), Cass County. 25,000 acres, unknown containment. The fire is burning very actively in heavy timber and is threatening numerous houses. Numerous aviation resources and Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid System engines are assisting. Eight homes have been destroyed. A Type 1 Incident Management Team arrives today to assist with management of the fire.
PEDERNALES BEND (Spicewood), Travis County. 6,500 acres, 80 percent contained. The fire is burning 4 miles southeast of Spicewood. Sixty-seven homes were destroyed.
RILEY ROAD, Grimes/Montgomery/Waller counties. 11,000 acres, 60 percent contained. Active fire behavior was observed yesterday as the fire moved to the south. Seventy-five homes have been destroyed on this fire burning just west of Magnolia.
TAMINA ROAD, Montgomery County. 150 acres, unknown containment. Hundreds of homes were evacuated Monday evening, but none was reported lost. No additional information has been received.
UNION CHAPEL, Bastrop County. 912 acres, 90 percent contained. Twenty-five homes were destroyed on this fire just west of Bastrop. Aircraft responded immediately after the fire was reported, but were ineffective in the windy conditions.
WHITE OAK ROAD, Gregg County. 300 acres, 80 percent contained. The fire is burning in pine and hardwood.
PETERS CHAPEL, Harrison County. 650 acres, 80 percent contained. The fire is burning actively in pine plantation. Numerous homes have been evacuated. Two homes were destroyed.
STEINER RANCH, Travis County. 125 acres, 50 percent contained. The fire started just north of the Steiner Ranch subdivision. More than 1,000 homes were evacuated. Thirty-five homes were destroyed.
#538 (Lansing Switch Road), Harrison County. 200 acres, 50 percent contained. The fire is burning in pine and hardwoods.
#491, Limestone County. 3,000 acres, 95 percent contained. Six homes were saved and one was lost on this fire 20 miles east of Waco.
DELHI, Caldwell County. 6,000 acres, 850 percent contained. wenty homes were saved and six were lost on this fire east of Lockhart.
BAILEY, Colorado County. 2,300 acres, 90 percent contained. This fast-moving fire threatened 40 homes near Columbus. Ten homes were destroyed.
DIANA (#545), Upshur County. 2,500 acres, 70 percent contained. The fire is burning in grass and timber. Twenty homes are threatened.
LUTHERHILL, Fayette County. 2,700 acres, 95 percent contained. The community of Ruttersville was evacuated. Fourteen homes were destroyed.
BONBIEW RANCH, Van Zandt County. 350 acres, 80 percent contained. Twenty homes were saved southeast of Canton.
MOORE, Smith County. 1,500 acres, 90 percent contained. Ten homes were evacuated and five were lost on this fire burning on the Smith/Gregg County line. Two civilian fatalities were reported.
BOOT WALKER (#553), Marion County. 1,000 acres, unknown containment. Thirty homes are threatened.
TOAD ROAD (#552), Upshur County. 350 acres, unknown containment. The fire is burning in timber. Three homes were lost and dozens remain threatened.
HOPEWELL (#854), Walker County. 1,035 acres, 90 percent contained. Thirty homes have been evacuated, five homes were destroyed.
HALSBRO COMPLEX, Red River County. 958 acres, unknown containment. The fire is burning in grass. Fifteen homes are threatened, but none reported lost.
#507, Anderson County. 1,400 acres, unknown containment.
#504, Anderson County. 800 acres, unknown containment.
#502, Nacogdoches County. 4,000 acres, unknown containment. More than a dozen homes have been evacuated, but none lost.
ARBOR, Houston County. 3,000 acres, 90 percent contained. The fire is burning in timber. Up to 15 homes are reported lost.
PETTYTOWN, Caldwell County. 200 acres, 95 percent contained. Twenty homes were saved east of Lockhart.
OLD MAGNOLIA, Gregg County. 1,000 acres, 80 percent contained. Several structures and a gas plant are threatened. Two fuel tanks exploded.
#839, Leon County (Concord Robbins). 4,689 acres, 90 percent contained. An estimated 20 homes are reported lost and more than 300 were evacuated.
101 RANCH, Palo Pinto County. 6,555 acres, 85 percent contained. The fire is burning on the south side of Possum Kingdom Lake near the town of Brad. Thirty-nine homes and nine RVs have been reported destroyed.
A surface ridge of dry high pressure will maintain a dry air mass and northerly component to the flow to most of the Lone Star state. A surface trough of low pressure in place over the panhandle during the afternoon will lead to some gusty winds at times over the far northern portions of the panhandle where an isolated shower or thunderstorm could occur. The pressure gradient will be strongest near the Interstate 35 corridor today, where winds should generally be strongest sustained, around 10 mph for a few hours in the late afternoon to early evening hours. Relative humidity this afternoon will be slightly higher than yesterday in most places, but the majority of the state should experience minimum relative humidity below 25 percent. Many areas will fall to the 10 to 20 percent range. High temperatures will range in the 80s and 90s in general, but will approach 100 over Deep South Texas. Poor overnight recoveries are expected again for areas away from the coast, especially locations west of Interstate 35. Dry conditions will continue as high pressure over Texas and Oklahoma moves very slowly east. Northeast flow 6-10 mph, with gusts to 12-15 mph will be common. Partly sunny skies with high clouds moving into the northern areas, and sunny skies across the south will allow afternoon high temperatures to climb to 85-92. Relative humidity values fall to 14 to 20 percent in the northwest and 18 to 30 percent across the southeast. Poor to moderate overnight recoveries of 50 percent in the northwest to 60-65 percent in the east and south are expected.