Texas Wildfires: Situation Update 9/16/11

The good news is we’re getting a little bit of rain in some places. The bad news is that lightning is associated with some of these rain showers, and lighting can strike far away from where it is raining. Can’t we catch a break? At least, even though there were nine new fires yesterday, none of them was big. See below for the latest from the Texas Forest Service:

Wildfire update – Sept. 16, 2011

Current situation:

· Yesterday Texas Forest Service responded to nine new fires for 168 acres.

· In the past seven days Texas Forest Service has responded to 131 fires for 19,736 acres. The Rhonesboro Fire in Upshur County was contained yesterday, along with #839 in Leon County and the Manton (Hat on Road) Fire in Clay and Montague counties.

· The latest drought monitor shows 95 percent of the state in extreme drought, with 81 percent in exceptional drought (the highest category). Seasonal outlooks continue to indicate drying throughout the fall, so the drought is expected to worsen.

· 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):


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

BASTROP COUNTY COMPLEX, Bastrop County. 34,068 acres, 80 percent contained. The 719-acre Union Chapel Fire is now included in this complex and is being managed by the Southern Area Type I Incident Management Team. Crews and equipment continue to protect homes within the perimeter. There is no fire burning outside the main containment lines. An assessment team has confirmed 1,554 homes have been destroyed on the large Bastrop fire and the Union Chapel Fire. Two civilians were found dead as search crews went through the charred subdivisions.

OLD MAGNOLIA/MOORE, Gregg County. 4,963 acres, 90 percent contained. Several structures and a gas plant are threatened. The fire is burning in pine plantation. There are still some hot spots in the fire that crews continue to mop up.

101 RANCH, Palo Pinto County. 6,555 acres, 95 percent contained. Crews and aircraft continue to monitor the fire. Thirty-nine homes and nine RVs have been reported destroyed. Crews continue to mop up and aircraft are monitoring.

IRELAND, Coryell County. 1,023 acres, 65 percent contained. This fire is burning 5 miles southwest of Jonesboro.

DARK HOLLOW, Clay County. 1,500 acres, 70 percent contained. The fire is burning in light fuels. Numerous homes are threatened but no lost. This fire is burning 23 miles southeast of Henrietta.

UNION GROVE, Bell County. 500 acres, 80 percent contained. This fire is burning 7 miles southeast of Killeen.

BEAR CREEK (#536), Cass County. 40,963 acres, 90 percent contained. Sixty-six homes have been destroyed just southeast of Linden. A Type 1 Incident Management Team is assisting with management of the fire.

DIANA (#545), Upshur County. 2,324 acres, 80 percent contained. The fire is burning in grass and timber. Twenty homes are threatened.

BOOT WALKER (#553), Marion County. 1,047 acres, 80 percent contained. A wind shift to the south could threaten 30 homes. Access to the fire is limited.

MARSHALL (#574), Harrison County. 1,465 acres, 80 percent contained. The fire is burning actively in timber. Heavy airtankers, C-130s, scoopers, and helicopters assisted. Evacuations occurred but no homes were lost.

GETHSEMANE COMPLEX (#592), Marion County. 2,695 acres, 80 percent contained. This complex is burning approximately 8 miles north of Uncertain.

#839, Leon County. 4,689 acres, 80 percent contained.

ARBOR (#841), Houston County. 4,931 acres, 80 percent contained.

THIRD (#898), Walker County. 466 acres, 90 percent contained. Seven structures are threatened. This fire is located 15 miles west of Huntsville.

TRUCK FLIP (#899), Trinity County. 832 acres, 70 percent contained. Six homes were threatened and saved. This fire is burning 11 miles east of Trinity.

GEORGE BUSH PARK (#900), Harris County. 1,623 acres, 95 percent contained. A type one helicopter, air attack and ground resources responded. This fire is burning on the outskirts of Houston.
Weather Outlook:

The cold front that passed through the region earlier in the week will begin to lift north as a warm front today. This and a couple of passing upper level disturbances will bring the chance for showers and thunderstorms today, especially over the Northwest, West and northern end of the North Branch. However, isolated thunderstorms are possible across the rest of the state. Winds will be gusty statewide, but will be strongest over the panhandle and western part of the Northwest Branch. A southerly component to the wind will be experienced today. However, outflow winds and lightning will be a hazard near any thunderstorms. Outflow winds can reach many miles away from the parent thunderstorm and bring gusty winds from a different direction from the prevailing wind. In addition, lightning strikes could occur away from the main rain core today.

A cold front over the area from around Huntsville to near Kountze around sunrise will begin to lift slowly north as a warm front as high pressure moves into Missouri. Mostly cloudy to cloudy skies in the morning will become partly cloudy by early afternoon over most of the region except near the Red River where scattered showers may be moving through the area along and north of Interstate 30 during the morning. East and southeast winds will be strengthening to around 10 mph with gusts of 13-21 mph during the day as the warm front moves north. Temperatures will rise into the mid-80s far north to mid-90s in the south. Afternoon minimum relative humidity will be lower than yesterday with 30-43 percent across the north and 35-55 percent south. Isolated showers and thunderstorms may develop near the front as it lifts north in the afternoon. An upper level disturbance will approach the region from the southwest and west and storms may increase in coverage across the western areas during the evening hours. Gusty and erratic winds in excess of 40 mph may accompany the thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy skies will likely return to the area overnight with light east southeast winds. Overnight recovery of 50-85 percent north to 80-95 percent south should occur.


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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